Last week, I returned from a visit to India – which last July suffered the most extensive power cut in history, affecting 600 million people – to find our own energy policy in a worse shambles than ever. Provoked by soaring energy bills, which have recently risen by a further 13 per cent, David Cameron again displayed his astonishing naivety in such matters by promising to force energy companies to charge only the lowest prices for their gas and electricity – just when even Ofgem has been warning us that we too face the prospect of massive power cuts, thanks to the imminent closure of so many of our power stations.
It is more than five years since I began warning here that Britain’s lights were in danger of going out, thanks to the lunacy of successive governments in shutting their eyes to this crisis. Yet Mr Cameron’s only response is to indulge in a political gimmick prompting almost universal howls of derision, and serving only to show that he knows even less about the real world of energy than his technically illiterate Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey.
What Mr Cameron clearly hasn’t realised is that the main reason why our energy companies need to charge us ever more for electricity lies in his own Government’s deluded policies. He and his colleagues prattle on about how, over the next eight years, we need to spend £100 billion on building 30,000 useless, unreliable and grotesquely subsidised wind turbines. They want to see billions more spent on giant pylons and interconnectors, to carry power from the remote onshore and offshore wind farms where it is generated to the places where it is needed. Then, as even Mr Davey has finally admitted, further billions will need to be spent on new gas-fired power stations – not only to fill the gap left by all the coal-fired and nuclear plants that are due to close, but also to provide ever more expensive, “carbon”-emitting back-up for the times when the wind drops and our turbines are scarcely functioning.
For all this it is we who will have to pay through ever-rising energy bills. Isn’t Mr Cameron aware, for instance, that the declared purpose of George Osborne’s “carbon tax” due next April (which alone will eventually double our energy bills) is to make energy from fossil fuels so costly that his beloved wind farms may one day seem competitive, despite our having to pay subsidies of 100 per cent (onshore) and 200 per cent (offshore) for the pitiful amounts of power they produce?
These are the reasons why our energy companies have no alternative but constantly to raise our bills, driving millions more households into fuel poverty. And we are having to pay for all this make-believe in the name of meeting the threat of global warming, at a time when even the Met Office shyly admits that there has been no significant warming of the planet for 15 years; when Antarctic ice has just reached its greatest extent since records began; and when the forecasters tell us that Europe and the US could be in for the fourth freezing winter in a row. Yet those who rule us are so lost in their bubble of fantasy that all Mr Cameron can offer us is a promise to pass a law that will keep our energy bills down.
Such madness makes me almost as angry as the discovery, when I recently paid £244 for my flight ticket to India, that I had to pay £386 on top of that in taxes – most of them designed to save the planet from global warming.
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