Lord Smith, the Chairman of the UK's Environment Agency, has expressed concern in an interview with the FT that the Government is in danger of missing European Union renewable energy targets unless action is taken to promote investment in the renewable energy sector. It comes following recent announcements that energy companies are reconsidering plans for offshore wind farms. Lord Smith said, "You have to look at the subsidy system to see it if is working properly. If it is deterring companies from investing, then you need to make changes."
A leader in the FT argues that support for renewable energy should come in the form of a "broad carbon tax". It goes on to say that committing to such a tax now would "provide the certainty required for companies to increase investment in renewables."
Is it any wonder that energy companies are reconsidering plans for offshore wind farms when, as Christopher Booker pointed out in his article on 26th October 2008 in the Sunday Telegraph, (a) there is only one vessel capable of handling such work in the whole world and (b) were we to start today there is not the remotest chance we could build sufficient wind turbines to meet the percentage targets set for production of electricity by such means; and also that it would mean construction of two wind turbines each day when it takes weeks to complete one.
Christopher Booker continues to point out, in the same article, that construction costs alone, on current figures, would cost £100billion - the price of 37 nuclear power stations; while subsidies alone would add £6billion a year more, or 25%, to our electricity bills.
And the estimate for this Severn Tidal Barrier is £22billion - £22billion???
It would seem the old principle, that if you wish to spend money it needs to be earned, has been forgotten.
Oh, silly me, I forgot too - the source of all this money will be the dwindling section of our economy - the taxpayer!
Update: Just spotted this story - so how much is this environmental exercise going to cost us - if it ever sees the light of day, which it probably will being environmental?