Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeClimate WatchSunak’s energy sermon – smell the burning trousers

Sunak’s energy sermon – smell the burning trousers


I HATE to dredge up one of the oldest clichés in the book, but this is truly deckchairs and Titanic. ‘This’ being the energy delivery sermon delivered by Rishi Sunak in the pages of the Daily Telegraph on Monday under the heading: ‘Boosting gas capacity is the insurance policy Britain needs while we deliver net zero.’ 

Although everyone with half a brain knows we have no reliable energy self-sufficiency, it seems the Telegraph, along with the Prime Minister, may not. I wonder if either of them is aware that we have been a net importer of energy since 2004. Or that this has come in terms of both vast cost and an almost total lack of security. 

On the security issue, being an importer of energy means that we are at the behest and exigencies of the exporter and that we are at risk from our enemies, whoever they may be or come to be. Their aim would be to stop the country dead in its tracks by destroying imports en route. Everything we need or use requires reliable energy: without it, we die.

On the costs side, let’s take a look. Last year the UK’s energy import bill surged to £117billion, more than double 2021’s total of £54billion, and breaking the £100billion barrier for the first time. We face similar bills for this and future years, especially if the windfall tax imposed on UK oil and gas operators remains unmodified. But Mr Sunak opines: ‘We’re going further and faster than ever to deliver green energy, in a way that doesn’t place extra burdens on the British people.’ Pants on fire, Mr Sunak! Does he not know that we have close to the highest-priced electricity on the planet and many people cannot afford to heat their homes? I suggest this fact, plus the coercion to install heat pumps, insulate our homes, throw out our gas cookers and replace them with electric ones, and of course buy EVs, is too great a burden to bear as a nation. 

It is ironic that on the same day as Sunak’s Sermon, Ofgem raised exactly this concern: that household energy bills are being used to shoulder the cost of going green, and not least with the Government’s reckless ramping up the roll-out of renewals with wind and solar. 

The fact is governments have had 20 years in which to put this problem right; the Conservatives have had 14. But instead of high energy security and low energy cost what have we got? An unnecessary, unaffordable, unachievable religion called Net Zero that is still being forced upon the nation; that has already destroyed much of what the average Briton has aspired to, namely being able to afford to live in reasonable comfort. It’s not happening.

A groundswell of objection, even from the usually toothless OFGEM, looks to have put Sunak in a panic, rather like he was a week ago outside No 10 on the equally challenging critique of where 20 years of liberal progressive immigration policies has led us. One has to laugh that it has taken two decades for the gradual realisation that when it’s consistently windy/sunny we can’t store the electricity; and when it’s  neither, we need back-up. He had to conclude his article: ‘So in the short term, we will need more unabated gas power capacity.’ He must have had nightmares about presenting that embarrassing back-track, in the guise of it always being part of the plan.

I can smell the burning trousers from here.

Does he really believe it when he says, and I quote: ‘We are powering Britain – delivering new sources of home-grown energy, with new nuclear power plants, record investment in renewables and new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.’ As to the last of these, how will that affect our energy bills? How, when and where will the rest happen? I suspect the plans are on one of those little yellow notes stuck on his fridge: ‘Must have some power stations built.’ 

What Mr Sunak hasn’t considered is that before any cement has been mixed for this unlikely-to-happen sop, he will be out of a job and Starmer and Miliband will likely cancel it in favour of more wind turbines and solar panels, all imported from China and manufactured using fossil-fuel energy from their many new coalmines because it’s cheaper than wind and solar energy. Another cliché: ‘You couldn’t make it up.’

It’s a pity the DT headline didn’t read ‘We will be boosting our capacity by utilising all and every means of energy production that is not weather-dependent to re-establish the existence of the UK as a strong, viable nation that cares about its people.’

In our dreams.

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