We’re in for a rough ride. The Guardian reports an agreement in the Cabinet for:
“a far-reaching, legally binding “green deal” that will commit the UK to two decades of drastic cuts in carbon emissions.”
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne* appears to have won over colleagues despite concerns over the cost. A new carbon budget announcement, expected on Tuesday, will commit the UK to a costly pathway of carbon reduction ahead of any other country. [*cartoon from the excellent Fenbeagle which is unfortunately too long to post. More here.]
Here’s the thinking:
“Ministers believe that major companies involved in developing offshore wind technology … will now be keener to invest in Britain, knowing it is committed to a huge expansion in renewable energy. It is also hoped that the commitment to renewable energy – the committee says 40% of the UK’s power should come from wind, wave and tide sources by 2030 – will stimulate new industries.
These would include the development of tidal power plants, wave generators and carbon capture and storage technology – which would extract carbon dioxide from coal and oil plants and pump it into underground chambers. All three technologies, if developed in Britain, could be major currency earners.”
Really? (/sarc) And the cost?
“Experts say a total of £16bn of investment will be needed every year to meet the commitment. Some of this money will be raised through increases in electricity prices.” Full story here
I’m horrified. However, I also realise the UK is in desperate need of new energy infrastructure. The cost is worrying; the issues are complex and there are so many with vested interests that it is hard to know who or what to believe.
One thing is simple and this is something many people don’t think about – we used to export energy – now we import it. That costs – a lot now, and even more as prices rise: oil for road transport, domestic heating and industrial use; gas for electricity production and domestic and industrial use.
Coal still accounts for 32% (2007) of electricity production, however, due to cheap imports we are a net importer of that too – coal imports are now (2o10) at 9-10% of primary energy supply. Overall, we’re screwed.
That net import in 2008 cost us £14 billion and is only set to increase. We are in ‘fuel deficit’ to add to the budget deficit. This is the difference between owning and controlling an energy source, and buying it and seeing the money leave the country. This, my friends, is the argument for developing renewables as part of our energy supply.
Green thinking means that indigenous coal (regardless of cost) is off the agenda, and there seems to be an equal determination to strangle the shale gas industry at birth. Renewable and nuclear energy are one thing, but carbon tax and carbon capture and storage are another entirely. Worrying as the future energy gap is, the spectre and cost of futile ‘decarbonisation’ of the economy is terrifying.