Monday July 19,2010
By Sarah Westcott and Mark Reynolds
BRITAIN faces years of blackouts and soaring electricity bills because of the drive toward green power, a leading energy expert warned last night.
A growing obsession with global warming and “renewable” sources threatens the stability of our supply.
Derek Birkett, a former Grid Control Engineer who has a lifetime’s experience in electricity supply throughout Britain, warned that the cost of the crisis could match that of the recent banking collapse.
And he claimed that renewable energy expectations were now nothing more than “dangerous illusions” which would hit consumers hard in the pocket.
DEBATE: IS BRITAIN TOO OBSESSED WITH GREEN ENERGY?
“We are going to pay a very heavy price for the fact there has been a catalogue of neglect by the former Government which has focused on renewable energy sources,” Mr Birkett said.
“We need a mix of sources and this takes time. Renewables have the problem of being intermittent, particularly wind, and we need more back-up capacity. By having all our sources in one basket we are risking disruption.
“There is a lot of over-enthusiasm by governments to push global warming, which makes me very suspicious.” Less than five per cent of our energy comes from renewable sources but the “disproportionate” cost of implementing green technology runs into many millions of pounds, he said.
In a new book, When Will the Lights Go Out, published this month, Mr Birkett claims things will only get worse. He said the “lavish incentives” being offered to developers of green energy are being passed on to customers as the UK struggles to meet EU directives on carbon emissions.
He also warned that a growing reliance on renewable energy is creating widespread uncertainty in the electricity supply chain.
With many nuclear power stations and coal plants ending their lives and being taken out of service we “can’t rule out” people being left without power. The real problem is the cost of making sure this does not happen, and Britain’s lights “do not go out”, he warned.
“The country is going to have to make a choice whether to go along with green ideas of renewable generation or go back to coal and nuclear power.”