Clean Energy – What is it and what are we paying for?
By Pat Swords BE CEng FIChemE CEnv MIEMA
“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so”.
• Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher, 1554 – 1642
Dogmas of ‘clean energy’ versus ‘dirty energy’ abound. So much so, that in order to ‘cure’ a perceived problem in the EU, by the end of 2012, over €600 billion had been invested in wind turbines and solar panels, with multiples more of that planned to come. Given that you only get to spend it once and we are funding it through soaring electricity prices; that’s a hell of a belief system. So where are the figures to justify it?
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”.
• Groucho Marx, 1890 – 1977, American comedian, film and television star.
History abounds with poor decision-making and the resulting major political, financial and environmental failures. As a result, legal systems were put in place, requiring for significant policies, plans or programmes, that Regulatory Impact Analysis with detailed cost benefit studies be completed, with a further legal requirement for the completion of Strategic Environmental Assessments. These procedures must involve participation of the public in the decision-making and be completed before such policies, plans or programmes can be adopted.
“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow”.
• Woodrow Wilson, 1856 – 1924, 28th President of the United States
However, having established such procedures, they were promptly ignored by the EU and its Member States, after all there was a planet to be saved and existing energy structures no longer sufficed and had to be made ‘clean’. The EU’s politicians knew best and established a 20% target for renewable energy by 2020, essentially ‘pulling it out of a hat’. It was never worked out in advance; what was to be built, where it was to be built, what were the impacts, what were the costs, what were the benefits, etc. These minor details were not allowed to limit the implementation of the target.
Read the full paper: Clean Energy What is it and what are we paying for