The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) today described the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ as shallow gesture politics, but a gesture with severely negative economic implications from day one into the foreseeable future.
And we know that this will happen because all previous attempts to create a viable green economy have failed.
In March 2009, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his Labour government’s ‘industrial strategy,’ a term the Conservatives have also adopted, promising to create 400,000 jobs. Brown’s words are strangely reminiscent of today’s announcement:
I want to create a global ‘green new deal’ that will pave the way for a low carbon recovery and to help us build tomorrow’s green economy today.”
Twelve years later Britain has green industries that are still dependent on huge handouts, now totalling £10 billion a year — and building nearly all their green equipment overseas. The recent Seagreen offshore wind farm, for example, has awarded its contracts to two countries with cheap energy, the UAE and China, bitterly disappointing BiFab and other Scottish manufacturers. Green miracles just don’t happen.
Chairman Boris’s Great Leap Forward will also fail to deliver the goods because, like all “economic planning”, it is an incoherent utopian dream unconstrained by economic and physical realities and a mess of unaffordable and incompatible goals.
For example, meeting the absurd offshore wind target of an additional 30 GW of capacity (giving a total of 40 GW in 2030), will have a total capital cost of £120bn–£130 billion for wind farms and offshore transmission grid, nearly all that expenditure going to overseas companies, just as it did with Seagreen.
Paying for that investment and all ancillary costs related to it will put something £27 billion a year on the UK electricity bill, roughly double the wholesale market value of the entire UK electricity sector at present, with horrific implications for electricity prices by the end of the decade.
Those high electricity prices will render utterly unaffordable the Prime Minister’s proposals for heat pumps and electric vehicles. This will cause anger, not only because UK consumers will be confined to their freezing homes, but because many will have spent a fortune on realising the PM’s green utopia.
Heat pumps cost between £10,000 and £20,000 each to install, so the Prime Minister’s aim of installing 600,000 Ground Source Heat Pumps a year by 2028 implies an annual cost of between £6 billion and £10 billion a year.
Dr John Constable, GWPF energy editor, said:
These over-reaching proposals are technically absurd, economically deluded and politically disastrous. Does the Prime Minister have any competent advisors? One wonders?”