Tuesday 18 May 2010

That Con - Lib Agreement (2): Energy

Bizarrely, the great Agreement has more on Energy than any other single topic - 23 policy bullets !! It's mostly OK, and there probably isn't any money for the daft stuff, so we may be alright.

We can categorise the policies thus:

Full auctioning of ETS permits; Euro-Parliament to have only one seat, in Brussels - good luck with those, guys !

Scrapping HIPS; smart grid; home energy improvements; cancellation of extra runways at Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted; per-flight duty; replacement nukes to receive no public subsidy (& so, there won’t be any replacement nukes)

If you must:
Green investment bank; feed-in tariffs – keep ’em low enough to be competitive, not so high as to represent a windfall; recharging network for electric vehicles – keep it strictly commercial; green spaces, wildlife corridors, biodiverstity - yadda yadda

Have you really got the £££ ?
CCS test plants; marine energy; high-speed rail network – all 3 parties promised this, but see George Monbiot.

WTF ??
Anaerobic disgestion (sic); illegal timber a criminal offence (sic) - did you really have nothing better to talk about in those negotiations ?

- Banded ROCs – the crazier the technology, the bigger the subsidy
- Emissions performance standards - can of worms
- Floor price for carbon – bonkers, or worse: do you realise the folk lobbying for this (EDF) want a four-fold rise in the current price ?? and that it will go straight on the price of electricity ?? Don't see this happening, somehow
- Reduce central govt carbon emissions by 10% in 12 months – try it and you’ll learn a lesson or two !

Increase the target for energy from renewable sources. Guys, target whatever you like, but it can’t be done ! So please don’t throw money at it as though it could.

But then – you don’t have any money, do you ? Say after me: GDP trumps GHG.

Needless to say, none of this addresses the key issues, viz (a) - how to keep the lights on ? and (b) - what happens when oil goes to $200 ? These are for the grown-ups and can be resolved in due course ...



Anonymous said...

Anaerobic digestion and Smart Grids are two of Greg Barkers pet projects. See his links with Pegasus Capital in the US and Summerleaze in the UK.

Oh ... and the nuclear issue. No new Nukes will mean more Russian Gas and imported French (78% nuclear) electricity. More to this will be obvious later.

Budgie said...

We need new nuclear power stations for strategic reasons, even if we have to subsidise them.

Richard Manns said...

Perhaps the more bonkers stuff on illegal timber was to pacify the weirdie beardies in the LibDems?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Per flight taxes are better than per passenger, but the best way of doing it is auctioning off the landing/take-off slots.

The value of these is merely a balancing figure between revenues and costs; so however much the airlines voluntarily pay for the balancing figure does not change anything - it's a non-distortionary tax, because you cannot pass on a balancing figure.

Apart from that, I'd be a lot more pessimistic about all this than you appear to be. What's wrong with coal and gas? We've got plenty of our own coal, if push comes to shove.

Nick Drew said...

anon, Richard - you are doubtless right about where some of this stuff originates

anon, Budgie - I am not bothered about gas import-dependency so much as I am hostile to grotesque subsidies

our strategy must be to keep international markets flowing smoothly - we've relied on them for centuries; we're seeing a breakthrough right now in the Continental gas market (vital for this purpose - see this blog passim); and I see no reason to give up now

we shall end up with gas (and maybe coal, MW), to prevent the lights going out - sooner rather than later, one trusts

I'd be cautious about price-setting distortions (market power) under your auction system, MW - auctions have been tried in many areas of the energy industry and have thrown up all manner of problems

devil in the detail etc etc

Old BE said...

"I am not bothered about gas import-dependency so much as I am hostile to grotesque subsidies"

Seventy-three cheers for ND!

Internal flights should be taxed to end the relative subsidy compared with ground transport - this would have green benefits as well as improving the case for high speed rail and better bus services. Whether that comes as a per-flight or a fuel tax doesn't bother me, but the mismatch has to end at some point.

Nick Drew said...

Thanks BE

as well as the cheers, I heard you groaning when you read 'floor price for carbon'

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"& so, there won't be any replacement nukes"

You put this under good?

Are you mad?

When the lights go out, I'll remind you of this; assuming there is by then any way of doing so, of course.

Anonymous said...

When do you think the brownouts will occur? It sounds much longer than the timescales previously suggested on this blog.

Being a fervent reader of the energy blogs on here, there is no way we're going to have something built, up and fully working by 2015-2017. And that is based on how the better countries in the nuke game are faring when they build new ones.

another anon.

Anonymous said...

Nukes are the way forward, countries like China and India are building them, the Russians are about to sell mass produced versions using icebreaker power plants, Americans are looking into mass produced units. (mass production = cheap! ...and cheaper)
Newer designs will have fast startup and shutdown times so can be used for load balancing same as gas and coal.

And they are much safer and less polluting than the ignorant suspect - it's that radiadion bogeyman.

Read Gyyneth Cravens tour through the Nuclear industry, tons of info but from a viewpoint of a diehard eco campaigner.