Monday, 21 May 2012

EXIT STAGE LEFT PURSUED BY SUBSIDY...

Now David Cameron made much of being a ‘green’ environmentally caring Conservative when he was busy re-branding the pretty toxic Conservative brand, his government's publicly stated that it wanted to almost completely de-carbonise the electricity industry by the 2030s. All very well and good, yet, in the Draft Energy Bill, due to be published on Tuesday, no guarantee such a target will oddly enough appear nowhere in the bill.

The UK’s unhealthy expensive obsession with its expensive, heavily subsidised and floundering nuclear industry will ensure that the UK gas-dependent for many decades to come. To get out of this hole the UK may well be reduced to purchasing emissions permits on the European market to try to keep to its much publicised medium-term emissions reductions targets.

A well publicised failure to de-carbonise electricity will end up diverting the UK from its plan to reduce CO2 by 80% by 2050 - unless the gas-fired power stations were made to run with carbon capture and storage, a technology that is unproven on a large scale. Actually increasing these islands dependency on imported gas from unstable areas of the world at a time of rising energy costs is hardly the brightest thing to do.

The draft Energy bill is being introduced so the proposals can be fully scrutinised by parliament should appear as a fully fledged bill sometime this autumn. The final decision, no doubt subject to some discreet nudging from Cameron and the pro nuclear lobby will end up before the Westminster Energy and Climate Change Committee. The pro nuclear lobby may even find itself nudging the Conservative PM to persuade the EU that a public subsidy for nuclear power is fine.

The 2030 plan was publicly endorsed by the PM back in November 2010 may be quietly added to the too difficult in tray. So it may literally be a case of exit stage left pursued by nuclear subsidy for any fleeting Conservative aspiration to de-carbonise electricity in the 2030s. One way of the other we have been paying (and will go on paying) for Conservative and Labour failures to develop sustainable and secure energy resources for many years to come.

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