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Frederick Forsyth: UK Energy Policy Is A Lot Of Hot Air

Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express

WHAT is it with British governments that, one after the other they manage to select the worst of all options?

Why, given a series of choices of which one stands out as the dearest, the longest to bring to fruition and the most inefficient, will they unerringly choose that one?

Take energy. We presently have the most expensive energy in Europe. If we could have cheap, clean energy and masses of it, would could turn our fortunes round and forge back to be once again a real Great Britain. Is it available? Oh yes. Will we ever have it? Fat chance. Why? Bumbling ineptitude.

We are told we must cut out the four hydrocarbons: wood, coal, oil and natural gas. Too much CO2. That leaves seven. Two of them, nuclear fusion and geo-thermal, are still in the scientific future. Of the five left, one is nuclear waste matter indestrucable for tens of thousands of years, but thorium whose waste is one percent of uranium. Thanks to a decade and a half of dithering, we are miles behind everyone else on nuclear power generation.

So on to harnessing water, sun or wind. For the first, hydro-electric power you need roaring torrents out of the mountains. Switzerland has them, Sweden and Norway have them; we do not. And bank-to-bank barrages across rivers like the Severn would cause horrendous damage to wildlife and the environment.

Solar panels? Introduced by the numpty Ed Miliband when he was Climate Change Secretary, we have just learned that subsidies are up fourteen fold (not fourteen percent) but efficiency down forty percent. Extra cost to the unsuspecting public: another billion pounds. In other words, a complete failure.

Harnessing the wind, the second-last option. Yet more bad news. The latest news is that Miliband (again) presided over the issuing of contracts for the building of offshore windmills so biased in favour of the profiteers that even Labour’s Margret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, calls them a licence to print money. But not for you. Oh no, they are going to cost the taxpayers seventeen billions pounds in exchange for pathetic amounts of electricity.

What is left? Well, the recent discovery, shale gas. There is literally a century’s worth; it is under our feet in England; it does not have to be bought with valuable petro-dollars. It is cheap, with a tint CO2 footprint.

Fully exploited in the USA it has had a revolutionary effect. Energy prices halved, they are now siting back in their homeland entire industries they once outsourced (exported) seeking cheapness. Pollution down. Not one single earth tremor identified as caused by ‘Fracking’ the extraction process.

So is the UK, starved of locally-sourced British owned energy going for it like a Rugby forward on the charge? Certainly not. Havering and dithering as usual. Why? Because it is opposed by Big Oil and Big Wind – the profiteers and subsidy-junkies. Who seem to have our bumbling bureaucrats in their pockets, along with the Lib-Dems, still happy to sabotage what they can.

So we go on pouring billions of your money into subsidies to build windmills that will return a miserable amount of power but create a happy core of greedy millionaires.

Daily Express, 18 January 2013