The Government's energy policy is disastrous. By trying to push renewables into action prematurely, on a massive scale, they have imposed huge costs on businesses and ordinary taxpayers. 14 per cent of the average household electricity bill is now the result of climate change regulations, the figure is even higher at 21 per cent for industrial consumers. Despite that, renewables generate less than 2 per cent of Britain's electricity. We're spending a fortune and getting very little in return.
Those policies also tilt the balance away from generating power using coal and towards gas. Gas power gets hit less by policies such as the Emissions Trading Scheme and it can provide back up for the large quantities of highly volatile wind power being added to the grid. Unfortunately, Britain's domestic gas reserves are dwindling and that means big increases in the extent to which we employ gas-fired power stations will mean becoming increasingly dependent on importing scarce gas from international markets. There could easily be severe spikes in the price British consumers have to pay if other countries go down a similar route (many of the policies driving this change are being formed on a transnational basis) and there are supply disruptions.
The situation is made considerably worse in the short term by the European Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) which mandated that certain plants would have to make extremely expensive investments in upgrading their equipment or close. Those that took the option to close are scheduled to go offline and the Telegraph reports that the resulting sudden loss in capacity could mean blackouts by 2017. Similar concerns have been raised for some time by groups like the Renewable Energy Foundation. It might be possible to avoid blackouts with further investments to fill that gap with even more gas capacity, but getting even more dependent on a single fuel would be incredibly bad news.
Placing a huge burden on the poor, vulnerable people who suffer most when electricity prices rise is a serious matter. So is adding to the bills of energy intensive manufacturing industries. Blackouts would be dangerous and a huge blow to the country's standing as a place to trade and invest. Politicians need to stop putting our national interest at stake gambling on the renewable energy fairy tale. The Emissions Trading Scheme and the Renewables Obligation should be scrapped and we should ignore EU directives that threaten to lead to disastrous consequences for ordinary Britons.