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Stephan Robinson: Britain’s Biofuel Lunacy

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Stephan Robinson, Daily Mail

The vast generators of Drax are now living, humming, forest-destroying symbols of the shameful absurdity of European energy policies, and an extraordinary rebuke to this Coalition government

This afternoon, just when many delegates might fancy a post-lunch snooze, the Lib Dem Cabinet Minister Ed Davey will stride on to the stage at his party’s conference in Glasgow.

The Energy And Climate Change Secretary will doubtless trumpet the success of the Coalition’s ‘green’ policies, which have mostly involved carpeting Britain with evermore wind farms and solar panels.

He may also boast about how, under his stewardship, we have moved away from relying on coal-powered energy and entered a brave new world in which ‘biomass’ — or plant-based fuel, mostly made up of wood chips — is used to run our power stations.

This afternoon, just when many delegates might fancy a post-lunch snooze, the Lib Dem Cabinet Minister Ed Davey will stride on to the stage at his party’s conference in Glasgow

Indeed, it was Mr Davey who opened a new biomass phase for the vast Drax coal-fired power station near Selby in North Yorkshire last year, heralding the move as a new chapter in a low-carbon future.

‘This is a real landmark for Drax and for Britain’s energy security,’ he said. ‘Drax’s ambitious plans have made it one of Europe’s biggest renewable generators, helping to increase our green energy supplies.’

Except there’s just one problem. Drax’s conversion to run half of its output on biomass means it will have to rely on wood from trees cut down in forests in America. The Sixties power station’s giant furnaces are being loaded with wood pellets carried 3,800 miles across the Atlantic in diesel-guzzling ships.

This grotesque environmental charade is being funded by government subsidies for the conversion of its coal-burning furnaces to biomass ones, which will put an estimated £23 on every family’s annual household energy bills for the next 13 years.

The vast generators of Drax are now living, humming, forest-destroying symbols of the shameful absurdity of European energy policies, and an extraordinary rebuke to this Coalition government, which claims, ever more ludicrously, to be saving the planet.

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