Among its 30 energy policy bullets, the Con-Lib prospectus includes: (a) encouragement for new nukes (with a let-out for conchie Libs), provided they receive no subsidy; and (b) setting a floor price for carbon.
Now the price of carbon goes more-or-less directly onto the wholesale price of electricity, because price-setting power plants will generally be either coal-fired or gas-fired, both of which need CO2 permits. Cui bono ? Any power generator not using CO2-emitting methods.
This means our old bugbears, nukes and wind farms.
And what a floor-price they want ! €50 sounds like a nice round number and that’s what they’re asking for – nearly four times the price of recent times. Exactly how that would work through to residential electricity prices is open to detailed debate, but in round numbers it would be 10% - 15% on average UK electricity bills.
But of course, €50 would only be the start. When, after a couple of years, the government notices that no new nukes have been started, and that the preposterous targets for new wind farms are not being met, they will solemnly be told by the subsidy-wallahs that the floor is not high enough.
Meanwhile, all these rogues have existing nukes and wind farms in operation, and will have been busily hoovering up the windfall of the higher electricity prices.
The best approach to carbon-pricing lies in another of the Coalition policies – persuade the EC to require that all CO2 allowances be auctioned.
Say after me: a floor price is a subsidy. Stick with the original instinct, chaps, and go with the virtuous slogan: No Subsidy !