One of the more remarkable things happening in the world at the moment is the revolution being brought about in the US energy market by cheap shale gas. In four years this has halved the cost of gas, saving US energy users an estimated $100 billion. Thanks to the growing switch from coal to less carbon-intensive gas, US “carbon emissions”, for what it’s worth, have also plummeted to their lowest level in 20 years.
In Britain, thanks to the utter incompetence of those in charge of our energy policy, the opposite has happened. The rising cost of imported gas has led our electricity companies to switch back to coal, which in the past two weeks has been contributing up to 40 per cent or more of our power. More than once, however, the contribution from all our 3,500 wind turbines put together has been as little as 0.2 per cent, with coal-fired power stations contributing 200 times as much.
As for that shale gas, of which we also have huge reserves, our Government seems to do all it can to discourage it. This is because it is just another fossil fuel, which won’t help us meet our (wholly unachievable) EU target of generating 32 per cent of our electricity, by 2020, from “renewables” – such as those useless windmills. So our energy bills continue to soar and, with half our coal-fired power stations due to close under an EU directive, the prospect of Britain’s lights going out and computers closing down gets nearer by the month. Has there ever been, in our country’s history, a madder flight from reality?