Thursday, 24 May 2012

Static Electricity

There was a time when I would have read, analysed and digested a draft Energy Bill like this as a service to t' readership. But there's no point; it is a complete dog's breakfast.  Sorry.

Characteristically, Simon Jenkins has it right. This, from the Grauniad:

"So complex is the mathematics ...   that it rapidly dissolves into naked prejudice: irrational fear of nuclear, urban hatred of landscape, leftwing loathing for oil companies. Each has a quantity attached to it and each a fanatical lobby drooling for subsidies... Energy policy is a dark underworld populated by fanatics and necromancers. Read through the literature and you will learn that nuclear means tsunamis, terrorists and Frankenstein monsters, or is as harmless as a local radiology clinic. Biomass is the new dawn, or threatens half the world's forests. Wind turbines are free energy, or they tear up peat and exhaust Mongolian minerals. We face a "peak oil" crisis, or we do not. We face a nuclear winter, or not. We can live for ever on shale gas, or it causes earthquakes...

We feel our way through this miasma by relying on gut instinct or on those we blindly trust. The public sums allotted in grants and price enhancements to green energy – with 8 million people facing fuel poverty – are so enormous they have bred an army of lobbyists clamouring to protect every programme for every resource under, and including, the sun. They pounce hysterically on any opponent of their favoured watt or therm."

Nicely summarised; and it is as true of DECC's shameful output ("an institution befuddled and beset by lobbyists" - Jenkins) as of the more blatant subsidy-seeker's fare. It would take a minister of far higher calibre than any of the current rabble to see through the dense forest of nonsense and call it for what it is. There is almost no number out there that one can feel certain is not selectively generated by a deeply compromised vested interest. (Me ? I'm just a consumer!) 

For ample illustration, look no further than another Guardian offering, "Damian Carrington's Environment Blog", Busting the carbon and cost myths of Germany's nuclear exit. This piece purports to deliver facts and hard statistics from which, if you like the cut of his jib, you might derive great comfort. Except, it's garbage from beginning to end, numbers and all.

But, hey, you'll just have to take my word for it.  The debate is going nowhere and, more importantly, likewise investment in electricity generation.



electro-kevin said...

Clearly we're suffering analysis paralysis.

There can be such a thing as too much democracy - especially where minority viewpoints are given a disproportionate amount of airtime in the interests of 'fairness'. Paralysis seems to work well for the Left and Europhiles.

Demetrius said...

On the other hand, we could all just try to use rather less electricity and be more sparing in our use of cars.

alan said...

For me, Demetrius comment sums up why energy policy is the failure it is.

No-one discusses the consequences of energy policy, the assumption being energy is just sugar that you add to your tea. To save on sugar just drink less tea and put less in each cup. Sounds great.

But energy just isnt that simple. Energy is the life blood of our modern society.

Take the humble washing machine. It is a major time saving device. It used to take a whole day to wash the laundry for a family. Now it takes more time to put the clothes away than it does to wash them. A washing machine is just an example; all the technology we use has importance to our lives.

Another misguided idea is that we should consume less. Yes people do buy crap that they dont need. But there would be consequences of people buying less. First GDP would drop. But more fundamentally there would be less people selling stuff. Less people working in warehouses. Less people working transporting goods around the country. Less businesses selling goods. Less businesses making goods. Reductions in tax receipts across the board.

It reality the simple idea of using less is nothing more than self enforced economic depression.

Yes fat can be trimmed from our energy usage. More efficient goods. Better insulation. But there are limits to efficiencies. Both technological and practicable. I could demolish and rebuild my house to be 100% energy efficient. But the costs are so high that I have to compromise and use better insulation.

And when the fat has been cut, any further reductions are just back to economic starvation.

I dont get why the Treasury and the MoD hasnt had a headfit over the DECC policy of self imposed economic depression. DECC policy is more of a threat to the national security of this country than a 100 al-Qaeda's.