Reposted from Reform.co.uk
Energy policy and the return of the State
Energy policy represents the biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s and is on course to becoming the most costly domestic policy disaster in modern British history. By committing the nation to high cost, unreliable renewable energy, its consequences will be felt for decades to come. Energy is an iceberg policy: its implications for the demise of a competitive market in electricity – the final achievement of the Thatcher years – are poorly understood and tend to be consigned to footnotes and annexes of policy documents.
Like its predecessor, the Coalition Government has three policy objectives:
Keeping the lights on;
Keeping energy bills affordable; and
Decarbonising energy generation.
These do not require the policies the Government is implementing. Indeed, energy policy militates against having cheap, reliable energy. Worries about the lights going out have intensified as the country becomes more dependent on the weather for its electricity. The market is the best way of providing reliable and affordable electricity. Converting the electricity system to wind and solar power does neither. Even on favourable assumptions, these are inefficient ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.