The EU’s Lose-Lose Energy Policy

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Roger Helmer, British MEP for the East Midlands region, and Head of Delegation for the UK Independence Party, has written this exclusive article for Get Britain Out:

The EU’s Lose-Lose Energy Policy

The EU is blindly and obsessively committed to climate orthodoxy.  But whether you believe the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  (IPCC) theory or not, the fact is the EU’s policy response is utterly failing. and is damaging even in its own terms.

By mandating massive investment in unreliable and intermittent renewables, they have forced up the cost of energy until it’s broadly speaking double that of major competitors.  Renewables mean investing twice over – in the renewables themselves, and in the necessary back-up for when the wind doesn’t blow!  It also means the back-up (normally gas) being run inefficiently and intermittently to complement the wind (or solar) output, resulting in more fuel being burned, and more CO2 emitted than if the gas plant were run properly.

After the multi-layered costs and subsidies of wind or solar power, there’s even an extra subsidy (“Capacity Payments”) for the gas-fired back-up operator – without which the investment in an intermittent gas plant would not be viable.

So households and pensioners are driven into fuel poverty, and forced to choose between heating and eating.

The impact on industry is dire.  As Italian MEP and former Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani put it, “We’re creating an industrial massacre in Europe”.  I have made a point of talking to energy-intensive industries in Europe – steel, aluminium, cement, glass, chemicals, petroleum refining, paper.  They all have the same message.  Production in Europe is down.  Plants closing.  Jobs lost.  Imports up.  New investment going outside the EU altogether.

The Commission likes to talk about re-establishing manufacturing at 20% of EU GDP (currently 15-16%), yet they have created conditions under which no one wants to invest in manufacturing in the EU.  Even great EU companies like Siemens are now investing more outside Europe than in.  In many industries the plant closures in Europe are mirrored by new plants on the periphery – Russia, Turkey, North Africa.  Anything to avoid the EU’s Kiss of Death.

And here’s the real killer.  The EU’s policy is arguably increasing global emissions at the same time.  Production is often going to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, meaning more CO2 emissions per unit of production.  A recent study for the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed imported refined petroleum implies 35% higher emissions than if refined in Europe.  The steel industry reports a ton of steel smelted in Shanghai implies double the emissions of a ton of steel smelted in Sheffield.

So, we have an EU policy (enthusiastically endorsed by our own UK government) which is closing plants.  Costing jobs.  Forcing investment off-shore.  Increasing the need for imports, and our balance of payments deficit.  And actually increasing global emissions at the same time.  The EU is destroying our economy, and (if you believe the IPCC) destroying the planet, with the same insane gesture politics.  Madness.  You have to laugh – or you’d end up in tears. 

Roger Helmer MEP 

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