Tuesday, November 1, 2011

At Last: Britain Pulls Plug On Green Energy Boondoggle

At Last: Britain Pulls Plug On Green Energy Boondoggle

The Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away –-Famous green proverb

Ministers have been accused of destroying 25,000 jobs and "bankrupting a whole industry", after the Government unveiled plans to slash subsidies for green energy. Hundreds of solar companies are likely to go bust by Christmas after the Department for Energy and Climate Change confirmed it is looking to halve subsidies for new panels. --Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2011

The row over solar subsidies is the latest manifestation of a long and fierce battle within the government between Chris Huhne's DECC and George Osborne's Treasury over the role of green growth in the UK's economic recovery, made especially pointed by soaring home energy bills. "We may be out of touch with the solar lobby, but we are not out of touch with energy bills," Barker told parliament on Monday. --Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 31 October 2011

At a time when household savers are struggling to get a 0.5 per cent return on an instant access saving account, some of these renewable energy subsidies – paid in the form of generous payments for the electricity produced, so called feed-in tariffs (FITs) - are guaranteeing annual returns of 10 per cent. It’s one of the biggest wealth transfers – from millions of ordinary hard-working tax payers to a few hundred of the hugely wealthy – in British history. It’s staggeringly unfair and, in the growing opinion of many, totally pointless. --Benny Peiser, Daily Mail, 9 June 2011

The right hon. Lady says that we are out of touch. We may be out of touch with the solar lobby, but we are not out of touch with energy bill payers. She says that they are groaning under a £175 increase, but she wants to put that up. If we did not act now, consumers would face massive increases in energy bills. –-Gregory Barker, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, House of Commons, 31 October 2011

Silicon Valley's green geek scenario, which we can date at around 2005-2009 is now gurgling down the WC pan of history. Its elitist and totally unreal notions of extreme high priced electric cars for Nice People Saving the Planet, and designer Low Energy homes for the same Nice People, and nobody else, has gone down the tube. --Andrew McKillop, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 October 2011

Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, just a year after the energy storage company received a $43 million loan guarantee from a controversial Department of Energy program. The bankruptcy comes about two months after Solyndra -- a solar panel maker with a $535 million loan guarantee -- also filed for Chapter 11, creating a political embarrassment for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has championed the loans as a way to create "green energy" jobs. –Reuters, 31 October 2011

Here’s the kicker: Market-driven energy choices are cutting more tons of CO2 in the U.S. than have been cut by wind and solar—even with their billions of dollars in subsidies. Natural gas-fired electricity generation has grown from 15.8 percent of America’s power generation in 2000 to 24.1 percent in the most recent 12-month tally from the Energy Information Administration. That 8.3 percent increase is enough to cut 120 million metric tons of CO2 per year compared to coal. Over the same span, wind- and solar-generated power grew to 2.75 percent of total power generation. That would cut CO2 by 108 million metric tons per year compared to coal power. So over the past decade, hugely subsidized wind and solar have done less to cut CO2 emissions than market-driven natural gas production. –-David Kreutzer, The Foundry, 25 October 2011

In Britain, once in the vanguard of action on climate change, the government is scaling back its green energy investment... Nobody expects a UN climate deal in Durban this year — nor next year, nor the year after. But meanwhile the coal keeps burning. Global production is set to rise by 35 percent in the coming decade, according to industry analysts. The cheapest, most abundant and dirtiest of all the fossil fuels is extending its grip on the world's energy supply system. And nowhere more so than just up the coast from Durban. --Fred Pearce, The Guardian, 31 October 2011

We have to put shale in the context of other energy sources in order to convey a comparative analysis of the environmental impact. People forget the environmental costs of coal mining or oil exploration; nuclear also has its own risks. Natural gas is a form of energy that falls into the low risk category. Can the green lobby win the shale debate over environmental objections? I don’t think it can. Ten or 20 years ago it could have won when governments were willing to burn billions, but the economic climate has changed, we’re facing the biggest crisis in decades. No government in the world would give up this opportunity, not even the British government, which is very green indeed. --Benny Peiser, Natural Gas Europe, 25 October 2011


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