Energy Policy and the UK 2015 general election

This is just a very quick post to link to some useful resources and discussions regarding energy policy and the UK general election. Although it is very difficult to tell exactly what will arise from the tiny snippets of information given by the manifestos of the UK political parties, I think that energy and climate change are such important questions that these sections of the manifestos are worth looking at.

The Carbon Brief has a good blog post looking at the energy policies of the various parties that I would encourage anyone to read.

Between Labour and the Conservatives there isn’t too much to choose from, both support the climate change, support North Sea oil and see Nuclear as part of the future electricity mix. The Conservative plan to put a blanket halt to the development of onshore wind is slightly worrying, given the sizable onshore resource still available and the huge expense of installing turbines offshore. While onshore turbines aren’t suitable everywhere, current planning restrictions are pretty tight, and given the choice between the pollution and climate change threat associated with fossil fuels or “unsightly” wind turbines, it seems foolish to me to completely rule out the wind turbines! Their stance on fracking is another difference, with the Conservatives more strongly in favour.

The SNP and the lib dems are more supportive of renewables in general and of the development of CCS. The SNP also heavily supports the North Sea Oil and Gas industry.

Obviously the green party has an agenda heavily dominated by climate change, and they advocate ending tax breaks for fossil fuels and oppose nuclear power. They also have some fairly extreme goals for energy efficiency – i.e. a 50% reduction in energy demand by 2030. That’s not to say that with the right measures this isn’t achievable! Their position on nuclear power is difficult and I suspect that a softening on this view would see them gather more support, as many people – including Prof David MacKay – believe that some nuclear is probably a good idea given our current energy needs.

For anyone who believes that climate change poses a clear and present danger the UKIP manifesto is pretty scary – proposing to repeal the climate change act, remove renewable subsidies and use coal for cheap electricity.

 

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