Energy isn’t as easy as it looks, and the new Secretary of State must be allowed time to play himself in. But he might beware of over-confidence.
Towards the end of BEIS questions this morning, he volleyed a powerful shot at the Opposition. Alas, it turned out to be a banana kick, rocketing into the back of his own net.
The former shadow Secretary of State for Energy said it was impossible to get to 40% renewable energy when we have – now – FORTY-THREE PER CENT!
Grant Shapps is not far off the median condition of BEIS secretaries of state when it comes to renewables. The briefing ministers receive from their civil servants clearly promotes renewable energy over all else.
But the annoying fact is that renewables create around 40% of our electricity, not our energy.
Were it a simple confusion of terms, it wouldn’t matter. But the idea that Britain is almost halfway to being powered by renewables adds enormous momentum to the great, green delusion of energy independence.
Electricity is 20% of our energy supply. The rest comes from filthy fossil fuels, and will for the foreseeable future.
So, renewables provide 40% of 20% which is – and Caroline Lucas’s calculator comes in handy here – 8% of our energy needs.
As a further necessary point, quite a decent proportion of that 8% comes from burning wood pellets – which emit more carbon dioxide than coal.
So, the idea that we are nearly halfway to no-carbon renewable energy heaven sounds like gaslighting. We can only imagine the emissions involved in that.