Or still tilting at windmills ?
In today’s Grauniad the government is trailing the headlines of a new ‘renwables strategy document’, and it sounds as though reality is beginning to dawn.
‘The long-awaited renewable energy strategy … will say Britain needs to make a £100bn dash to build up its clean power supply if it is to reach its EU-imposed target of producing 15% of the country's energy from renewable sources by 2020.’
Long-time followers of Drew’s energy ramblings here (Sid & Doris Bonkers) will know that we have long said the scale of costs and efforts required to implement the EU plan will be commensurate with events like mounting a war or, in more peaceable terms, German reunification. £ 100 bn ? Well at least this time they have put roughly the right number of noughts on it.
And in another outbreak of realism:
‘The renewables strategy concedes that the target will only be achievable if there is a completely new approach to generating energy. "We might just possibly reach 15% renewable energy by 2020. It will require maximum build rates and a very rapid response from the supply chain," says the document.’
. . . But more probably, ahem, we won’t reach 15%. Of course we won’t. Some of the required £££ represent investment, but a very large part is pure cost. Remember, this is over and above business-as-usual. OK, 12 years, say £12 bn each year in money-of-the-day (actually it’ll need to be more: inflation in engineering costs is really racing just now), starting right away . . . so where can we see the first few of these annual £12 bn slugs going in ?
We can’t. Because it’s mostly just talk, for the moment. And in the 2-year run-up to the next election, which brave Prime Minister of our acquaintance is going to slap another £24 bn on electricity prices, or general taxation, or whatever ?
Yes, that would take a very brave Prime Minister … ’nuff said.