A short-term body swerve by the EU has granted a temporary reprieve from the lights going out in Britain. Coal-fired power stations facing arbitrary closure under the EU’s so-called green strategy can now continue generating. The forecast energy gap now moves back by three to five years, more towards 2020 than 2015.
The energy crisis that needs tackling may instead have been ducked by this deficit-slashing smoke-and-mirrors government. Totally contradictory positions are at play in the Coalition over new energy sources. Their arbitrary decision to set the next general election as May 2015 may mean that a future government has to grapple with what happens when the lights go out rather than them having to face reality over this question now.
But the reality is that the EU-driven demand for a third of British generation to come from renewable energy sources within the next ten years – wind, solar, and so on – is undeliverable. And it takes between seven and ten years to build a new power station – be it coal or nuclear. The decisions for new build need taking now.
The energy industries need an investment of £200 billion to ensure security and expansion of supply. The reality is that this sum won’t be forthcoming from the greedy, monopolistic energy companies.