Why shale gas is an opportunity we have to explore
So, the Party Conference season is over. The politicians and the lobbyists (and the few die-hard party members) have gone home. A great number of promises have been made. Call me a cynic if you will, but I expect that few will be kept.
As UKIP's spokesman on energy, I was interested to hear what was said on energy issues.
Ofgem says we face an increasing risk of blackouts. The Government is in protracted negotiations over new nuclear capacity, but we still wait for action. Huge questions loom over renewables.
After the latest IPCC report, which seems to be almost a caricature of itself, should we still worry about climate change? Given the rate at which developing countries are building coal-fired power stations, can anything we do mitigate the increase in atmospheric CO2? And do wind turbines actually reduce emissions? Answer: no.
Wella SP Color Save 7 Piece Gift Set. rrp £27.50 (saving £10.00)View details
Colour Save Shampoo 250ml, Colour Save Conditioner 200ml, Mini Repair Shampoo 30ml,Mini Repair Mask 30ml, Mini Shine Define Shampoo 30ml, Mini Shine Define Mask 30ml,Mini Perfect Hold Hairspray 50ml
Terms: Limited availability. Whilst stocks last.
Contact: 01522 303163
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
And how do we face up to the problem of energy prices, for households and industry? I presented my party's answer at our conference.
We would scrap subsidies on new renewable projects. We would focus on proven technologies like coal, gas and nuclear. Moreover we would support exploratory drilling for shale gas.
In the USA, shale gas has led to massive energy price reductions, driving jobs and growth and industrial regeneration. Shale gas is potentially the biggest economic and industrial opportunity this country has had since the North Sea a generation ago.
The Conservatives have hitched their skirts and flashed a bit of ankle. Cameron says he "will not maintain renewables subsidies longer than absolutely necessary". But they're not necessary now.
They're driving up prices and failing to deliver. Business Minister Michael Fallon says we can't continue to allow green policies to drive up prices.
But he doesn't tell us his alternative plan, nor how he's going to get a new policy past decision-makers in Brussels (or even past his Lib-Dem partners).
Meantime, Ed Miliband wants a 20-month price cap on energy. Right problem, Ed. Wrong solution.
They tried price caps in the USSR, and they resulted in empty shelves, supply shortages, bread lines, black markets, poverty and misery.
This is a move back to old-fashioned state socialism which will have investors running a mile. And it will probably increase prices, as suppliers seek to pre-empt the freeze. If Ed's purpose was to sabotage any rational investment strategy in energy infrastructure, he could hardly have done better.