Boris Johnson’s government is shuffling towards a gigantic cliff edge which has nothing to do with Brexit. The looming disaster can be summed up in one word: renewables.
The clue came in the form of the widespread power cuts that Britain experienced at the end of last week. A million people were affected, with rail services disrupted and passengers stuck on trains for many hours.
Quickly the Establishment propaganda machine cranked into gear. This was, a National Grid spokesman told us, a “very, very rare event”. Also, he reassured us — classic distraction technique, this — there was “no malicious intent or cyberattack involved.”
OK then. So what did cause this blackout which, as Richard North rightly says here, was a national “disgrace” and “the sort of thing we expect in train-wreck economies such as Venezuela”?
Well the current official answer is “We don’t know, pending an inquiry.”
Unofficially, though, it’s bleeding obvious. Britain’s National Grid — and by extension the nation’s electricity supply — has been horribly compromised by the dash for renewable energy. The more unreliables — wind turbines, especially — are added to the grid, the more unstable the system will become.
Friday’s power cuts, far from being a freak event, are merely a taste of worse to come.
That’s because brownouts and blackouts aren’t a bug of electricity systems heavily dependent on renewable energy. They’re a feature.
And it’s not as though wiser heads haven’t been saying this for years.
Christopher Booker, for example, writing in 2009, described successive governments’ embrace of wind energy as “the maddest thing that has happened in our lifetime.”
Let us be clear: Britain is facing an unprecedented crisis. Before long, we will lose 40 per cent of our generating capacity. And unless we come up quickly with an alternative, the lights WILL go out.
Well on Friday the lights did go out. And the big question now is: will the government try to paper over the cracks or will it turn a crisis into an opportunity?
Perhaps the best thing about those power cuts is that they couldn’t have come at a more inopportune moment for the renewables industry.
With Boris Johnson’s administration having foolishly committed itself to Theresa May’s Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 policy, Big Wind — and its many supporters in the mainstream media — had been positioning itself for a bonanza of new contracts.
Only the Sunday before last, the Mail on Sunday (bizarrely, because it’s normally quite sceptical on environmental issues) ran a massive puff piece in its business section on the “lobbying offensive” being conducted by the wind industry:Energy firms have launched a lobbying offensive that could result in a newgeneration of wind turbines being built in rural Britain.Executives at major power companies are urging the Government to lift therestrictions which currently block the building of onshore windfarms.Their demands could trigger the construction of a swathe of giant turbinesas the country battles to meet ambitious targets to slash carbon emissionsand to provide the power for electric vehicles.If it hadn’t been for Friday’s blackout, they might have got away with it too. But now, if she plays her cards right, Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom might yet be able to nip their nefarious scheme in the bud.