Energy Policy is Damaging our Economy

Chris Huhne, Britain’s Energy Secretary, knows the nation faces a looming crisis in generating capacity, but his proposed solution (building more wind farms) will result in an energy shortfall and massive increases in our energy bills. National newspapers have starting reporting these price increases today (28 Jul 2010). In the Daily Telegraph they made the front page.

Yesterday Mr Huhne said there was no money for the state to subsidise new nuclear power stations, and that wind turbines were ‘incredibly competitive’ in producing electricity.

What he said about wind turbines is completely untrue, as regular readers of this site will be aware.

The UK may be waving goodbye to Tata Steel and some other large industrial concerns as the government piles on more green costs, making it almost impossible for global businesses based in the UK to compete. Such companies may leave the U.K. as 'climate-protection' policies boost electricity and natural-gas costs.

The irony is that the main greenhouse gas is water vapour, not carbon dioxide. Most physicists and chemists know this. So why are such enormous sums of money still being spent on a programme which attempts (not very successfully) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions?

The only technology which can reduce fossil fuel use significantly - nuclear - is still being sidelined.

Factories will pay 18 percent to 141 percent more for gas, electricity and carbon-reduction programs by 2020, adding about 7 million pounds to the bill for a typical large energy consumer, the London-based Energy-Intensive Users Group and Britain’s Trades Union Congress said today in a report on the impact of climate policy.

Scotland is pursuing a huge offshore wind project at an estimated cost of £18 billion. A new nuclear power station, on the other hand, costs about £3 billion. (These figures are in the public domain). The wind project is therefore costing the equivalent of about six new nuclear stations.

Just imagine the amount of power available from six nuclear stations with design lifetimes of 60 years, now the industry norm.

Coming back to reality: the wind turbines will produce, when the wind is blowing at the correct speed, about the same amount of energy as a single conventional power station; much of it at times when it is impossible to feed it into the grid. To my way of thinking it seems that wind power must be at least six times the price of nuclear.

Am I missing something?

The Daily Bayonet points out that Britain faces a real crisis but is being offered a fake solution. "Just because Huhne wants wind to be the answer does not make it an effective one, but the disconnect between political desire and hard facts seems to be a problem with governments on both sides of the Atlantic".

We will soon be needing home generators.

ND, habitat21, 28 Jul 2010.

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