Saturday, February 9th 2013, 2:18 PM EST
Talk about bees clustering round a honeypot… When are we going to wake up to the extraordinary goings-on at the heart of Britain’s energy policy?
Last week, it was announced that Charles Hendry — who was, until September, the minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in charge of wind farms — is to become chairman of Forewind, a consortium planning to build the world’s biggest and most lucrative wind farm in the North Sea. His predecessor, Lord Deben (formerly John Gummer), had to step down when he was made chairman of the Climate Change Committee, the hugely influential body set up under the Climate Change Act to advise DECC on Britain’s energy policy. Deben’s appointment was approved by the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, chaired by his friend Tim Yeo, who makes more than £200,000 a year advising firms in the “low-carbon” energy sector.
It was also announced last week that a new company, Greencoat, is to be floated on the Stock Exchange and given £50 million of taxpayers’ money to buy stakes in six wind farm companies, and that one of its directors is William Rickett, formerly head of the Energy Group at DECC.
Mr Hendry has also been hired by a cross-party lobby group, CarbonConnect, to co-chair a review of energy policy with Baroness Worthington. She is the former Friends of the Earth campaigner who was hired by the Department for Environment to mastermind the drafting of the 2008 Climate Change Act. This put at the centre of our energy policy a plan to spend £100 billion on up to 30,000 wind turbines, so hopelessly inefficient that they have to be given absurdly lavish subsidies. For offshore windfarms like the one planned by Mr Hendry’s firm, the subsidies amount to 200 per cent of the value of the electricity they produce.
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Meanwhile, we lose five major coal-fired power stations, 7.5 gigawatts of generating capacity, next month, thanks to an EU directive. This is exactly 25 times as much as the 0.7 per cent of our power being generated yesterday afternoon by all 4,000 of our wind turbines put together. In April, thanks to the drive towards a “low-carbon” economy, we can look forward to the arrival of the carbon tax, which alone will drive up the price of electricity by billions of pounds, pushing millions more households into fuel poverty.
Truly, we are locked into an utterly crazy energy policy, for which no group of people is more responsible than those bees clustering busily round the subsidy-sweetened honeypot. We need to wake up to just how dangerous a game they are playing with our future.
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