You have to pinch yourself when the government announces another new subsidy for the fossil fuel industry, not only because they so recently said that renewable energy should stand on its own two feet, but also because they’re announcing this just days before the latest climate conference in Paris – at which world leaders will gather to try and hammer out a global deal to reduce emissions. To reduce emissions, we need to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Our government is completely out of touch on this issue.
A few weeks ago, they told us that renewable energy was too expensive and should stand on its own two feet; they were contradicted almost immediately by a report from Bloomberg showing wind energy was the cheapest form of electricity available to us – bar none. And of course, they contradicted themselves months before that with the 35 year contract for nuclear energy – at twice the market price.
Having already promised ‘the most generous tax regime in the world’ for fracking (the dangerous extraction technique nobody wants to live near, which produces a fuel we can’t afford to burn) – now, just days before the vital Paris conference, they announce a new, as yet unspecified, subsidy for the power stations to burn more gas. We are the only G7 country creating new subsidies for fossil fuel industries.
The Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland couldn’t have come up with a more perverse energy policy – if I may call it that.
Why are they so afraid of giving us a level playing field in energy? They talk about it, they use that language – but their idea of levelling the playing field is to handicap renewable energy to give fossil fuels a greater chance – and ‘level’ the field that way. Take for example the recent £1 billion a year climate change tax slapped on renewable energy – even the Red Queen might find that a tad bonkers.
The government is rigging the market to protect the status quo and suppress the challenger industry.
According to the IMF, we already support the fossil fuel industry to the tune of £1,000 per family per year. Renewable energy on the other hand costs us £100 per family per year and for that we already get 25% of our power – each year. It’s incredible value. And an incredible success story.
Renewable energy has the potential to upend the energy market, it’s doing it in other countries around the world, it’s bringing lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions at the same time.
Supporting nuclear energy, fracking and now new gas power stations (while shutting down renewables on cost grounds) shows how dishonest or how utterly inconsistent the current government is – take your pick.
The Tories are not the party of business – but the party of business as usual.
P.S. In her speech, Amber Rudd announced that the government will close down the coal industry by 2025 – that’s just another deceit, we’re on course to have only 1% of our power from coal by that date anyway, so the real (honest) announcement would be that they intend to shut down that last 1%. Big whoop.