Renewable energy: we are still talking the talk but not walking the walk

I attended a seminar in London yesterday that was organised for lawyers and others concerned with the environmental aspects of science, law and policy. It is easy to underestimate how little policy-makers understand about the environment. They resort to a kind of language that is particularly imprecise and a series of concepts which are often as vague as the language.The catch phrases were all there

  • Diversity (in energy applications) is good
  • Green jobs
  • Investor confidence
  • Carbon (when they meant carbon dioxide)

While supporting a concept of diversity with words so far government legislation and tax payers’ money has only properly supported traditional fossil fuels, uranium, wind and PV power. While talking about green jobs many people in green industries have lost their jobs in the past two years. While talking about investor confidence which investors can have confidence about making an investment in a industry which the government lest money flow to, like a child with a tap, turning it on and off.

The three speakers concentrated almost exclusively upon electricity, particularly wind farms. I was struck at how central to policy was wind generated electricity. There was no fundamental commentary upon the limitations of wind power. It is as though the decision to support wind energy has been made and there is no revisiting it, regardless of performance and problems encountered. Government policy is like an oil tanker – very hard to turn and even harder to stop. Continue reading