A Tried, Tested and Failed Technology

No, not nuclear power. Wind.

Wind power enjoys favoured status in EU energy policy, despite its enormously high price, and seems to be part of the EU plan to minimise carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere.

There is a Europe-wide effort to 'reduce carbon emissions'. The push to do this has found its way into every school syllabus, every industry, every charity, every business. Our Department of Energy now bases its energy policies not so much on ensuring an affordable and effective electricity supply but on hitting 'carbon emissions' targets imposed by the EU.

The logical approach to minimise "carbon emissions", if that is a desirable objective, is to rank the options according to the cost per tonne of CO2 "abated", and then work through the merit order, starting with the most effective.

The EU Renewables Obligation does not work like this.

Wind has been given a guaranteed market share and a guaranteed indexed price:

-regardless of how competitive it is.

-regardless of its price.

-regardless of its effectiveness.

In the light of that, the current pursuit of our wind programme is difficult to understand. Its cost per kWh substantially exceeds that of other low carbon sources when account is taken of its intermittency and the cost of extending the grid.

The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates the current cost of energy production (pence per Kilowatt hour) as

Gas Fired 2.2
Nuclear 2.3 (including decommissioning)
Coal 2.5 to 3.2
On-shore Wind 5 to 7
Off-shore wind 15 to 21

The Liberal Democrats' objections to nuclear power are also not consistent: The Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change has called nuclear a tried, tested and failed technology.

This is completely untrue. For fifty years nuclear power has provided about 20 percent of our electricity reliably, competitively and safely.

20 miles from our coast France has produced 2/3rds of its electricity from nuclear and regards this as a great success.

There is something profoundly illogical in Nick Clegg’s demand that nuclear power can only go ahead in the UK if it receives no public subsidy, whilst at the same time allowing huge subsidies for wind power.

If he wishes to speak about 'a tried, tested and failed technology' he should look seriously at the UK's wind programme.

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