Update on UK Energy Policy
Recent news on energy

Closure of our coal-fired power stations is continuing, and our future nuclear programme continues to look very uncertain.

Unreliables (wind and solar) are still being promoted, but there is an increasing awareness among the public that this will not help our energy security or slow the rise in our energy bills.

It has just been reported that Eggborough, a coal-fired power station which currently supplies 4% of the country's electricity, is due to be taken offline in about a year, without any replacement capacity being built.

There will be no attempt by our ministers to negotiate extra running time for this power station to lower the chances of power cuts, and this decision - "we're not interested" - seems to sum up rather neatly the attitude of much of Westminster to the average person's energy bill.

Eggborough's closure is just part of UK energy policy. Other strategies include:

1. Importing 70,000 tonnes per day of wood chips from the USA to (partly) fuel Drax, a modern coal fired power station. This has reduced Drax's output whilst increasing the unit price of the electricity it supplies.

2. Paying wind power producers huge sums to switch off their turbines in case they cause uncontrollable surges in the national grid.

3. Entering into a long term nuclear power station contract at double the current cost (in real terms) of todayís wholesale energy prices.

4. Paying a standby fee of £48,000 per year per megawatt capacity for private diesel generators at a guaranteed price many times the current wholesale price of electricity.

5. Using Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth as the principal environmental advisors for government fracking policy. Thatís like asking haddock for their views on future fishing policy.

The bottom line is that the leaders of the junior partners in the coalition government, the LibDems, are obsessed with "unreliable and expensive" for the UKís energy future. The Department of Energy is run by Ed Davey, an individual with no science skills or experience, who relies on activists for advice and never seeks the opinion of scientists or engineers.

I hope that 2014 becomes a year in which some sensible decisions on energy policy are made.

(I am indebted to Peter M on the Jo Nova blog, for points 1-5 and the summary.)


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