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Coal Fired Power Stations Win Reprieve
by Ian R Thorpe.

In what looks like a u-turn on green energy policy the coalition government have abandoned plans to support and subsidiese operators of sustainable energy generating plants. While environment activists and green campaigners are calling this a betrayal the case may well be that in the harsh reality of governing claims made by green energy firms look totally unrealistic.

Coal Fired Power Stations Win Reprieve
by Ian R Thorpe.
2010-10-26
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: power, energy, green, renewable, coal, nuclear, coalition, cameron, clegg, conservative, liberal democrat, politics kingsnorth, environment, technology

The coalition is watering down a commitment to tough new environmental emissions standards, raising the possibility of dirty coal-fired power stations such as Kingsnorth going ahead.

Green groups are outraged that a landmark policy called supported by both Lib Dems and Tories when they were in opposition, and which they last year tried to impose on the Labour government, will now not be implemented in the coalition's first energy bill to be published this year.

Their criticism of the coalition government's commitment to green issues follows revelations that nature reserves could be sold off as countryside protection measures also bear the brunt of budget cuts in the Department for Environment.

The introduction of a new so-called "environmental performance standard" (EPS) for power companies would have restricted greenhouse gas emissions from coal and gas plants and encouraged companies wishing to build to use more efficient technology.

The EPS scheme was personally championed by David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg from the opposition benches; their opposition to the expansion of the Kingsnorth site with the addition of more coal fuelled generating capacity became something of a cause célèbre and even features in the coalition agreement but was opposed by energy companies and rank and file Conservative.

The chief executive at one coal-plant operating company warned that the UK's renewable energy technology which would be used to help new plants meet the target was too undeveloped to make the EPS feasible.

Now government sources confirm they will not be pushing legislation to help operators of renewable energy generation schemes and will instead continue working on "the bigger picture" of an energy future in which nuclear power has a larger role. They will open a consultation on the idea in the autumn with the results being presented to parliament as a white paper in the new year. Perhaps the disastrous outcomes of green energy experiments in Spain and Denmark which have both been cancelled after those nations found themselves importing electricity from France's nuclear plants and Germany's coal fired power stations influenced the thinking of coalition leaders. If so it is reassuring to see that we have a government upon which common sense and reality can prevail against ideology and wishful thinking.

Green campaigners believe this is a U turn on a policy both partners in the coalition said could be implemented immediately on their assuming power. They believe a delay in the introduction of the standard until next year – with a few years for the legislation to pass through the house and for it to be set up – raises the possibility of new coal-fire power stations slipping through the system.

Greenpeace energy campaigner Joss Garman is on record as having said: "David Cameron made the introduction of new rules to stop the most polluting power stations one of his flagship green policies, and Nick Clegg helped ensure it was a key part of the coalition agreement. Both Lib Dem and Conservative MPs voted for the introduction of such a measure just a few months ago, and if they U-turn on this and fail to put this measure into their new energy law, how can they claim to be the greenest government ever?"

Well maybe once in power where the voices of realists could be heard over they hysterical din of carbon Armageddonists it suddenly struck them that if we shut down to coal plants, failed to build new nukes and relied on wind and sun our industry and commerce would be anihilated and we would all sit shivering in the dark, drink and bathe in the rainwater that dripped from our rooves and eat only raw food.

The government's advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, said if the UK is to meet its climate targets it needs to decarbonise the whole power sector by 2030. This is as unrealistic as was Labour's pledge made at Kyoto to reduce carbon emissions by 20% before 2010. In fact as our appetite for energy increased, in spite of all the billions of pounds of taxpayers money thrown at cosmetic climate change projects and carbon trading Ponzi schemes our emissions have increased between Kyoto and Cancun.

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