Sunday, 9 June 2013
The real Yeo scandal - his Committee's promotion of nuclear above renewables
With newspaper stories circulating about Tim Yeo MP's alleged dalliances with various lobbyists (biomass and a fake solar company have been mentioned) you'd think Tim Yeo spent most of his time promoting renewable energy. The reality is that the influential Committee he chairs, the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has been busy pumping out faithful pro-nuclear propaganda which favours, in effect, nuclear power being given a blank cheque for construction costs from the Government. Previous blog posts have detailed how the Committee favours the Treasury offering 'loan guarantees' to nuclear power (presumably on the basis of 35-40 year contracts) whilst renewable energy has to make do with 15 year contracts and no loan guarantees. Nuclear loan guarantees and underwriting of nuclear construction risk. That is the language spoken by the Committee which Tim Yeo leads.
All of this contrasts sharply with the rather considered way in which the Committee has deliberated renewable energy issues. They want measured, reasonable support of course, which ends up being pretty cautious in some crucial respects. But, revealingly, there is no mention of giving blank cheques or underwriting construction risk of offshore wind power or solar power, or energy efficiency. Even in the case of marine renewables (technologies which most deserve some underwriting of construction risk) energy sources like tidal stream and wave power are not the subject of a demand from the Committee for underwriting. Why not? Well, this year the Committee clearly has a priority of bailing out nuclear power's sagging fortunes in the face of the Government’s proposals for Electricity Market Reform. Is giving nuclear virtually unlimited state subsidies more important than any new energy technology? The DECC Select Committee seems to think so.
Maybe the newspapers ought to do some investigating of how it is that the nuclear industry has such a stranglehold over the output of the DECC Select Committee.
You can see the blatant piece of pro-nuclear pleading on
You can see the Committee's report on marine renewables published last year.