Our energy policy: evil or stupid?
LEADERS across the West are rapidly discovering that basing their nations’ energy policies on the mutterings of a modern child saint was a bad idea.
Germany and the Netherlands, having made themselves increasingly reliant on external energy sources in a bid to appease the climate gods by externalising some of their xxx, have suddenly realised that the lights may soon be going off amid sanctions and shortages.
The Germans, due to an earthquake on the other side of the world, unilaterally shut down many of their nuclear power stations, leaving them desperate for Russian gas. Of the 17 nuclear power plants Germany had before the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, three remain in operation, though these are to be shut down by the end of the year.
The Dutch, sitting on top of the largest natural gas field in Europe, are trying their best to stop extraction at the site. Much better, instead, to import it from elsewhere, rather than control your own fate. In 2018 the Netherlands became a net gas importer for the first time since the 1950s as it wound down domestic production.
Now the Dutch and the Germans are burning coal: that nasty source of reliable energy. Even more deliciously, Germany is burning brown, highly polluting coal – the favoured energy source of the German Democratic Republic and the lowest grade of coal due to its meagre heat content.
But let us not begrudge the move. It features as a rare moment of sanity amid a tsunami of idiocy of our governments’ own making. One only wishes that the United Kingdom could do the same.
For our return to using coal is troubled by the fact that, in its wisdom, the government has been happily blowing up our coal-fired power stations as recently as March 2022. With only three coal-fired plants left, they are all to be closed within the next two years.
Given that we have vast reserves of high-grade coal underneath our feet, minds not fully in thrall to masochistic green madness might argue that keeping a number of coal plants open to provide a stable, domestically fuelled power supply would make sense.
Naturally, despite having enough of the black stuff beneath our feet to secure our energy independence, we became a net coal importer in 2004. No prizes for guessing where the majority of our imported coal comes from (hint: it’s Russia).
Energy is one of those areas where the more you read, the less it makes sense. Our elites have played fast and loose with the most fundamentally important sector of our economy. During the Industrial Revolution, it was the abundance of energy provided by fossil fuels that enabled mankind to drag itself out of the hardships of pre-industrial life.
In the headlong rush to axe fossil fuels from our energy mix – before the technology was ready and in spite of the clear economic self-harm it would cause – Western elites have shown their hand. Whether their intentions were good (to save the planet) or ill (to drive us into modern feudalism), their all-round, stunning ineptitude has demonstrated beyond all doubt that the current crop of incompetents have got to go.