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Ministers should turn to the Tory press for an energy policy

As the revamped UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy casts around for an energy policy that might just keep the lights on, they could do a lot worse than turn to the Tories’ favourite daily newspaper for a lead.  That’s the conclusion of climate campaigner and solar energy champion Jeremy Leggett:

“Among the legions of British media actors happy mostly to ignore energy, and its handmaiden climate policy, there are thankfully exceptions. On August 10th, readers of the Conservative party’s newspaper of choice, the Telegraph, will have read the kind of headline more normally associated with Greenpeace magazine: ‘Holy Grail of energy policy in sight as battery technology smashes the old order’.

“In the article, international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard presented such compelling evidence for the soaring prospects both of storage and renewable power that it must have left more than a few of his readers shaking their heads in wonder that so many of their fellow Conservatives can remain wedded to the receding prospects of new nuclear power and shale gas in the UK. ‘This country can achieve total self-sufficiency in power at viable cost from our own sun, wind, and waters within a generation,’ Evans-Pritchard wrote. ‘Once we shift to electric vehicles as well, we will no longer need to import much oil either. Rejoice’.”

Unlike most of the UK media, the Telegraph has been paying attention to the UK’s growing energy predicament in which the old centralised fossil carbon powered electricity generation infrastructure is spinning into an energy death spiral that is already making UK businesses unprofitable, and will eventually force millions of the UK’s poorest households to disconnect themselves even as the most affluent households and the most foresighted businesses use their own renewable generation to go off-grid.

While the Telegraph shares the Tory Party’s insane belief that there is sufficient shale gas beneath Britain to keep the lights on for a generation (there isn’t), it has also championed that favourite object of Tory hatred – wind power – as the technology most likely to keep Britain’s lights on in the immediate future; and it has called on ministers to ditch the overpriced white elephant project that is Hinkley Point C.

If Teresa May’s government does find the time – when not arguing about what Brexit may or may not mean – to arrive at a new energy policy, it will be interesting to see just how far it follows the prescription of its favourite paper.

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