Can this be ? Has Drew come up with a moonbeams-from-cucumbers machine, and is looking for a sub from DECC ? Or has he just invested in a windfarm ?
No, friends, I remain implacably hostile to these and a hundred other nasty little government schemes to undermine the workings of the market*.
But there is one energy sector where subsidy, or at least government-directed finance, is indeed merited. Energy efficiency - like efficiency as a whole - is generally a Very Good Thing.
Not least, of course, because it ought to pay for itself - or rather, the efficiencies we want are the ones that do pay for themselves. Furthermore, the higher the level of energy prices, the more likely is an energy efficiency scheme to pay its own way.
Unfortunately, a very significant number of economically sound energy efficiency measures remain undeveloped. One should be highly suspicious when the cry of 'market failure' goes up - Vince Cable, you know who you are - but in this instance it is often the appropriate analysis. There are several reasons; the best-known being that the capital-poor, be they individuals such as social tenants, or cash-strapped corporations - just can't put up the readies for the necessary investments. Or, to put things another way, they have too high an implicit investment hurdle-rate.
So with much crossing of fingers (and not wishing to be associated in any way with Greg 'anaerobic digestion' Barker) I am strongly inclined to support this ... this ... new DECC initiative.
There. Said it.
*Footnote: undermining energy markets, of course, is not the sole prerogative of the government : gas-market price-fixing is fairly effective as well ... to be continued