Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Why is the Left so keen to be duped on renewable energy?

Because they are!

‘Lefties’ who can smell out the faintest whiff of capitalist propaganda when it comes to politics or the economy, suddenly become corporate whores when it comes to renewable energy.

And I can’t for the life of me think why.


The Social Injustice of ROCs

Is it necessary to rehearse again how renewable energy is subsidised?

The score is this: having made all sorts of promises about renewable energy at Kyoto etc., the government suddenly realised that it had to deliver on those promises.

What it SHOULD have done was to lob money at insulation and energy-saving, given tax incentives to improve energy efficiency, toughened up industry standards on petrol consumption, carbon emissions etc.

What it SHOULD have done was to pump millions into the development and spread of heat exchange technology.

But that would have involved costs, taxes, rules … everything that the rich hate, and we can’t upset the rich, can we?

So instead, the government hit on the ultimate con. It wouldn't improve our energy-efficiency, it would just arrange to produce more ‘green’ energy.

And it even found a way not to pay for it! It did a deal with the energy companies, let them collect ‘ROCs’ (which sell for more than the cost of the electricity produced) … and then allowed the companies pass on the whole cost of the ROCs to the consumer.

Thus, the cost of every Megawatt of renewable electricity is more than double the cost of ordinary electricity, and the extra sum is paid by every consumer as a hidden cost in his electricity bill.

Currently, about a tenth of your electricity bill is going in this way as a slush payment to the electricity companies to go along with this. If the companies meet their targets, by 2030, a quarter of every electricity bill will therefore purely and wholly be just to pay the government-agreed subsidy. The government has recently been negotiating with the companies to adjust this bonus – but to make it more secure, not to reduce it.

And who is hardest hit by this gratis gift?

Is it the rich, in their insulated, double-glazed houses with the new central heating system? Of course not – many people who can afford are already installing solar panels and wind turbines and not only producing their own electricity, but benefitting themselves from the ROCs! It is actually a money-maker for rich people.

No. It is the poor, with their two-bar radiators and draughty windows, who are going to be hardest-hit by a hidden tax which will cost the average household some £400 a year extra on their energy bills by 2030.

You would have thought it was an open-and-shut case for the Left, wouldn’t you – an unavoidable, highly regressive, 25% tax on the poorest members of our society.

But … not a murmur.


Where is the Left?

Why is this? Why are Lefties such willing dupes when it comes to renewable energy?

Global warming? I don’t know enough about ‘global warming’ to comment on whether it is true or false, man made or a solar cycle … but it seems pretty clear to me that if we all here in Britain turned off the electricity altogether and sat in the cold with the lights off it would have almost NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on the global consumption of energy or the production of CO2. Some wag has estimated that every wind turbine delays the accumulation of CO2 by just two seconds.

What I DO know about global warming, on the other hand, is that it has been gleefully used by a variety of vested interests to justify a string of restrictions from stopping my free plastic bags at the supermarket to upping my car tax. If global warming is true, I can assure you that I’m already doing my bit to pay for it; if it isn’t, then I have been totally ripped off.

And surely – even if you believe in renewable energy – THAT is what we ought to be campaigning about … about the MISuse of the issue to bash the poor.

When the government suggested that we ask an extra £18,000 from students, the Left went on marches, rioted, chucked fire extinguishers off roofs. When the government consigns hundreds of thousands of old and poor people into fuel poverty, the ‘Lefties’ intone rather patronising lectures about how we ‘HAVE’ to move to renewable energy, along with a garbled rehash of electricity company propaganda.

Why aren’t we marching, writing letters, decrying the plutocrats, attacking the sell-out to private enterprise?

Instead, when Eon recently proposed putting the biggest wind farm in Britain literally on the other side of the road from Newton Aycliffe, some people who should have known better greeted them like returning saviours.

So no – the Left is silent, and it has been the Right which has attacked the wind farms on the grounds of financial waste, rather than the Left on the grounds of Social Justice.

It is beyond my comprehension – all I can think is that the Lefties are such suckers for a ‘green’ cause that they leave their brains behind.


Will there be a Renewable Future?

It’s not as though there is any future in renewable energy…

Because that is what I’m being told – that I have to think of the children, stop being selfish, and pay up and shut up to save their future.

But anyone with half a brain can see that there’s no future in most forms of renewable energy.


It is wind power, of course, for which I reserve my greatest spleen.

Forget shadow flicker and amplitude noise. Forget the visual impact of these monstrosities with which they insist on cluttering up every worthwhile view in Britain. Forget even that wind power costs THREE times as much as traditionally-generated electricity (once for the electricity, once for the subsidy, and once for the coal-fired station that has to be kept on standby for when the wind doesn't blow).

Let’s just face one single, unarguable fact – that wind turbines are not reliable as a producer of electricity.

So why is it government policy to make us increasingly reliant on wind power?

This isn’t a matter of a technology which may at the moment be imperfect but will improve. Wind generation will ALWAYS be unreliable because the wind is unreliable and no amount of technological advance or wishful thinking will EVER overcome this.

Surely this is an ‘Emperor’s Clothes’ moment for some people reading this?

Our government intends to rely on the unreliable!

Why – that’s as stupid as having an aircraft carrier without planes!

(Ooops. Sorry. Bad example.)

Why – that’s as stupid as buying an electric car that has nowhere to recharge when you get there.

(Ah. Sorry again. Another inappropriate example. I‘ll try again.)

Why – that’s as stupid as setting off on an hour’s scuba dive knowing you only have 30 minutes of air. Our government is knowingly and wilfully saddling our children with a form of power generation which IT KNOWS will not generate power for a significant proportion of the time.

So I’ll tell you what I fear most about wind power. No amount of technological development will ever make wind power a reliable form of generation. And they produce a piddling little whine of electricity into the bargain. The ONLY thing that makes them half worthwhile for the electricity companies is the MASSIVE subsidy,

What is going to happen, in the next 20 years, is that there WILL be technological advances that DO make some form of renewable energy viable. It won’t be wind power – we have established that. It may be photovoltaic or geothermal.

Whatever, as soon as that happens, the government will cut the subsidies to the useless forms of renewable energy (such as wind farms) – and as soon as it does that, then the electricity companies will lose interest.

And the turbines … well they will gradually fall into ruins.

I am continually told with renewable energy that I have to think of my grandchildren, and the world they will inhabit.

Well I do, and if we do not manage to stop this wind farm madness, I am predicting that our grandchildren will inhabit a world full of huge, rusting masts, which stand motionless and useless, which the local councils do not own and cannot do anything about, and which the electricity companies refuse to waste any more money on.


A Dead End?

And what about the other forms of renewable energy?

  • Have you seen the technology for wave-power? It will be centuries before wave-power is anything but a circus attraction.
  • Geothermal power is probably the main hope for the future, but is only just at the start of the initial phase of beginning to be developed.
  • Biomass stations at least work – there is one down the road from us which will produce as much electricity on its own as all 45 of the wind turbines across the road. But, really, is there any future in biomass? In a recycling world, do we really intend to incinerate vast and increasing amounts of waste to make electricity? Do we really intend to grow food … to burn it?
  • Photovoltaic cells DO have a future. I would make it a building reg. that every new build MUST have a south facing roof comprised entirely of photovoltaic cells. It is a technology that will improve, and the firm that makes them is based in County Durham, so there would even be a jobs bonus. The only drawback, of course, is that – of the major forms of renewable energy – photovoltaic cells are the only one NOT identified in the government’s renewable energy policy. Hopeless and useless.

So I am no further forward! If the Left had not inexplicably sold their souls to the corporates in this, they would be railing against the social injustice of the renewable energy subsidies, demanding that the government rationalise and humanise its energy policy.

Oh for the days of the Peasants' ReVolt.

? the Tolpuddle Meters.

? the Plug Plots.

? a new Generation.

?a current issue.


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