Level Playing Field
Friday, June 19, 2015 at 2:41PM
Robert Llewellyn

The first thing I want to say is, ‘Level playing field my ass.’

The UK government recently passed legislation on two related topics, both of them discreetly late at night so as not to cause too much upset.

They made the further development of onshore wind much harder. Onshore wind is now internationally acknowledged as being the cheapest method to produce electricity.

They made the rapid expansion of ‘unconventional onshore oil and gas exploration’ (fracking) through massive tax breaks (subsidy) as easy as possible.

Gas produces the next cheapest form of electricity and is just about arguably, not as bad as coal.

Here’s an argument I’m trying out because obviously the day the Tories won the election anyone with any knowledge of the energy industry knew this was going to happen, so it’s anything but a surprise.

My argument goes like this:

 

“I’m fine with cutting subsidies to onshore wind as long as we also cut subsidies, or as they are often referred to ‘tax breaks’ or ‘special tax concessions’ to onshore coal, onshore nuclear (who get bowel distressing mega subsidies and we then pay to clean up after they’ve done) and onshore gas.

We should still give subsidies to offshore wind and if people want to, let them build new offshore coal burning power plants, or new offshore nuclear plants, offshore gas plants, sweet, go ahead, here’s the subsidies, knock yourself out.

But I don’t want those ugly, dangerous, out-dated onshore coal plants anywhere near me, I don’t want to see them in the countryside, massive smoke stacks and ugly cooling towers.

They are a barnacle from a bygone age.

I don’t want to see 100 meter tall drilling rigs on fracking sites surrounded by security fences because the companies that run them know the local population hate what they’re doing. But it’s okay because at the same time they are shovelling backhanders at the authorities that allow this debacle to take place.”

 

That’s my argument, in a fairly chunky nutshell, maybe a coconut shell.

However, even though the current situation is truly depressing, even though the people currently in power are corrupt and cynical beyond human endurance, their knob headed aims are ultimately doomed.

Fracking is a last ditch, short sighted attempt to eek out the final remaining jissom of fossil fuel stupidity.

America has witnessed the downsides and they are sealing fracking wells now as fast as they drilled them. Fracking only makes sense when the cost of gas and oil is unsustainably high so it’s folly on a gargantuan scale.

It’s a temporary stopgap measure to keep a few dunderhead rich blokes rich and the rest of us numpties stumbling about in confusion

Level playing field my ass.

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