Ed Miliband has been on the media quite a lot, treading a tight rope in justifying a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth whilst assuring us that the UK Government wanted to be in the forfront of green energy generation.
Apparently it has been decided that there will be a new pricing structure for electricity that provides incentives for MICROGENERATION – that is, you own some photovoltaic cells or a wind turbine and sell some energy back to the National Grid. The thing that has been holding this up seems to be that big government likes big business, which likes big profits from captive markets, and anyway, if we are all producing our own electricity. how will the government earn tax revenues from it? Collecting VAT is so simple from electricity bills.
The CBI has declared that nuclear and ‘clean’ coal are the prefered route and that wind power should not be backed too heavily. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they? Just look at the profits of the power companies! Nuclear power stations take many years to come online, and the last lot we built were enormously over budget and late. Clean coal power generation does not exist yet. If they are prepared for us to invest in such developing technologies, why not cheap and easy microgeneration and ultra-low emissions cars? Because these technologies could stop them being able to bill us for large amounts of money.
We do need a mix of energy, but in order to get there, we need an ENERGY POLICY – no-one makes progress and changes things without a plan in the real world. Sadly, that does not exist.
However, we can look forward to announcements that should make it possible to install and run technologies and sell power back to the grid – I will be looking into this with interest and am ready to pass on what I find out to you. Whether it will go far enough to bring us up to speed with Germany, Denmark and Bangladesh is another matter.