When the Lights Go Out

Want to know where our government’s current energy non-policy will eventually take us? Just look at Great Britain, which is now facing the prospect of crippling power outages due to severe environmental restrictions on new generating plants.

Thanks to decades of neglect and wishful thinking by successive governments – and now the devastating impact of a directive from Brussels – we are about to see 17 of our major power stations forced to close, leaving us with a massive shortfall. . . .

At the moment, to meet Britain’s peak electricity demand, our power stations need to provide a minimum 56 gigawatts (GW) of capacity.

Ten gigawatts, nearly a fifth, comes from our ageing nuclear power stations, all but one of which are so old that over the next few years they will have reached the end of their useful working life.

On top of that, however, we shall also have to shut down nine more major power stations – six coal-fired, three oil-fired – forced to close by the crippling cost of complying with an EU anti-pollution law, the so- called Large Combustion Plants directive.

This will take out another 13GW of capacity, bringing the total shortfall to 22GW – a staggering 40 per cent of the 56GW we have today.

America is only slightly behind the British on this curve. Eventually the impact of wacky environmental policies will catch up with us, too.

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