Yorkshire Post 29 January 2014
Bernard Ingham: If I were Energy Secretary, Brussels would
face an electric shock or two…
WE live in a dangerous world. Fracking for deep shale gas deposits is becoming the Great White Hope of these islands. It is in a long line of dubious “solutions” to our energy supply.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Shale gas has far more potential than wind, waves, tides, sun, biomass (wood), geothermal, carbon capture and sequestration under the North Sea, energy saving and assorted “smart” grids and meters. After all, it has done wonders for the American economy.
But we cannot rely on it. Not a therm has been produced in Britain yet – and never will be if the so-called “Greens” have their way. These fanatics are an unmitigated menace. They are in favour of every source of energy that does not work and against all that do such as coal, gas, oil and nuclear – and to hell with a competitive Britain, jobs and the poor’s ability to pay for heat and light.
As for being environmentalists protecting the countryside from drilling, these hypocrites have wrecked vast tracts of hills and coast with their useless wind turbines. They are aesthetically dead from the neck upwards.
You should no more listen to them than to a snake oil salesman. They will leave you impoverished and vulnerable. We now pay over the odds for energy for a much less reliable system that brings the threat next year of blackouts.
Our daft politicians – of every party except the marginal Ukip – have fallen full tilt for their exaggerated global warming propaganda. After the combined handiwork of Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey as Energy Secretaries, we have an energy policy that is as holey as a sieve, failing on every count and damaging the economy in the bargain.
So, I have been asked to tell you what I would do if I were Energy Secretary. This makes a change since I was recently recommended as Home Secretary after my blast in this column on January 15 about our non-existent criminal justice system.
My first act would be to inform the nation what a potential mess we are in and how we are going to try to get out of it.
That would require me to tell the EU where to put its targets, which it blindly continues to proliferate. Probably nothing has more distorted energy policy than the 2009 Brussels agreement to produce 20 per cent of Europe’s energy – and not just electricity – from renewables i.e. wind, solar etc by 2020.
It is this idiocy that drives Davey and his barking Tory sidekick, Greg Barker, to demand the consumer pays ever more vast subsidies for ever more wind turbines and solar panels.
Yet they are doing next to nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they rely on gas plants to step in when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun sets. They do everything to render our electricity supply unreliable.
My veto will cause a tremendous row with Brussels, not to mention the entirely hypocritical Germans whose increasing “reliance” on unpredictable wind and solar last year resulted in their highest use of
filthy brown coal (lignite) to generate power since 1990.
But Brussels – and British politicians – have to decide whether they are in the business of security of low carbon supply at reasonable cost or not.
If not, they will have a serious problem with me. Euro-law will be a monumental ass if it persists in forcing the British to make their power supply unreliable and uncompetitively expensive.
Having blocked all new renewables subsidies, my next row with Brussels would be to tell them I am not at their legal behest going to close a single coal fired power station – the cheapest generators on the block these days – until I am satisfied we have adequate protection from blackouts.
It is estimated we shall be down to a two per cent safety reserve margin next year instead of a sensible 20-25 per cent.
At the same time, I would tell the Big Six energy companies that if they still want to do business in this country they had better make sure they have enough capacity.
That means building some gas-fired stations as insurance.
They would be useful if UK shale gas became commercial.
Finally, I would make sure longer term we had nuclear as the cost-effective, low carbon core of a sensible policy that puts the national interest first.
The timid should not feel too frightened.
I would probably have to resign on my first day in office because our wet politicians would have the vapours