This green fantasy will bankrupt us

It’s 2050. You wake in your cosy, insulated house, turn on the windfarm-powered lights, cook up a breakfast coffee on the hydrogen stove before jumping into your electric car. You whizz silently along roads with air as fresh as a mountain stream past happy e-bikers and carbon-neutral schools to your heat-pump powered office.

So, viewed from Britain in 2020, can you spot the odd one out? Here’s a clue: the e-bikers get no subsidy. Everything else on this list loses money, and needs state support on a massive scale to get even halfway to the nirvana glimpsed by the prime minister this week. Today’s subsidy, of course, is tomorrow’s tax rise.

Home insulation? £2bn is barely enough to get some sort of programme started. The disruption from insulating your home will be enough to discourage us from taking up this offer, almost regardless of the accompanying bribe. As we saw with double glazing and solar panels, the cowboy installers and fraudsters will be the principal beneficiaries.

Windfarms? The easier sites are already filled up, driving development further offshore to have any chance of quadrupling today’s contribution. The bulk of new contracts are going to overseas manufacturers, while evidence of catastrophic damage to seabirds is growing, and nobody knows the long-term cost of maintaining this hi-tech engineering in a hostile environment.

Hydrogen home cooking? Hydrogen is much harder to handle than natural gas, and a compulsory conversion programme – the only practical way to exploit the existing pipework – would meet stiff resistance. Besides, like electricity, hydrogen is not a fuel but an energy transmission mechanism. Making it from actual fuel is like trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Heat pumps? The capital cost typically runs into tens of thousands of pounds per dwelling, even where your garden is big enough to take one. They are also likely to be rather more expensive to maintain than your ‘fridge.

Investment lite

neilcollinsxxx

It’s 2050. You wake in your cosy, insulated house, turn on the windfarm-powered lights, cook up a breakfast coffee on the hydrogen stove before jumping into your electric car. You whizz silently along roads with air as fresh as a mountain stream past happy e-bikers and carbon-neutral schools to your heat-pump powered office.

So, viewed from Britain in 2020, can you spot the odd one out? Here’s a clue: the e-bikers get no subsidy. Everything else on this list loses money, and needs state support on a massive scale to get even halfway to the nirvana glimpsed by the prime minister this week. Today’s subsidy, of course, is tomorrow’s tax rise.

Home insulation? £2bn is barely enough to get some sort of programme started. The disruption from insulating your home will be enough to discourage us from taking up this offer, almost regardless of the accompanying bribe. As we saw…

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