From George Osborne’s Budget speech:
Renewable energy will play a crucial part in Britain’s energy mix – but I will always be alert to the costs we are asking families and businesses to bear.
Environmentally sustainable has to be fiscally sustainable too.
The Carbon Reduction Commitment was established by the previous Government.
It is cumbersome, bureaucratic and imposes unnecessary cost on business.
So we will seek major savings in the administrative cost of the Commitment for business.
If those cannot be found, I will bring forward proposals this autumn to replace the revenues with an alternative environmental tax.
Gas is cheap, has much less carbon than coal and will be the largest single source of our electricity in the coming years.
And so my RHF the Energy Secretary will set out our new gas generation strategy in the autumn to secure investment.
I also want to that ensure we extract the greatest possible amount of oil and gas from our reserves in the North Sea.
We are today introducing a major package of tax changes to achieve this.
We will end the uncertainty over decommissioning tax relief that has hung over the industry for years by entering into a contractual approach.
We are also introducing new allowances including a £3 billion new field allowance for large and deep fields to open up West of Shetland, the last area of the basin left to be developed.
A huge boost for investment in the North Sea.
If this is the best Gideon can do it’s no wonder the markets have responded with a yawn of supreme indifference. This isn’t a Budget for growth. It isn’t a Budget for the squeezed middle. It’s a Budget of meh.
Osborne is not stupid. (At least not totally so). He knows damned well that renewables are a hopeless waste of space and money. He also knows as the second bit intimates that Britain’s abundant shale gas supplies are by far our best hope for a secure, clean, cheap energy future.
Unfortunately, he faces at least two major problems. One of them is the Guardian/green/Lib-Dem/BBC nexus, which is being given carte blanche to continue with its mendacious, junk-science claims that “fracking” and shale gas production represent some kind of major environmental threat. Last night’s lamentably misleading coverage of the issue last night on BBC Newsnight was a case in point. Nick Grealy, explains here why it was so bad.
The other problem is that though in private Osborne can sound as red-meat a conservative as Maggie Thatcher in her prime he entirely lacks her cojones.
It really, really, really isn’t difficult explaining why renewables are a disaster area and why shale gas and nuclear are our only hope of keeping the lights on and the economy alive. If Osborne needs a few tips may I recommend an excellent book. No, not Watermelons though obviously I highly recommend that one too. I mean Power Politics by Michael J Economides and Peter C Glover. A good starting point might be the section headed Ten Fracking Things Everyone Should Know. And then maybe The Myth of Viable, Industrial-Scale Renewable Energy.
- ‘Budget for growth’? Wot budget for growth?
- George Osborne’s New Eco-Bullingdon Club
- Just what is it that greens like George Monbiot find so offensive about prosperity, abundance, happiness?
- We need to talk about wind farms…