This is Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings & Rye and also the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Yesterday she was on the radio defending the decision by George Osborne (her ex-boss at the Treasury) to guarantee loans to Chinese investors including the Chinese Government to give them confidence to invest in British nuclear power plants. Along with the loan guarantees the Government has also guaranteed the price this country will pay for electricity for 30 years into the future. This from a Government that has constantly referred to the need to not create a funding problem for our grandchildren! One of her arguments was the need to invest in low carbon power sources that are carbon neutral! The fact that the Chinese economy is entering a period of slowdown and could crash is not apparently a risk worth considering in our risk analysis on this idea.
Over the last few weeks the same Amber Rudd has been defending the decision to reduce the subsidies applying to both solar farms and on-shore wind farms, despite these subsidies previously being promised by the coalition and previous Labour Government. Her argument has primarily been that these forms of low carbon power are proving to be relatively successful and it is the Governments view that the level of subsidies are no longer needed. Despite these views, it appears that British and overseas companies that had been making investment decisions to build such power plants are now in disarray.
Last Wednesday Amber was speaking in the House of Commons:
“My Rt Hon Friend Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) and I wish to set out the Government’s view that there is a national need to explore and develop our shale gas and oil resources in a safe, and sustainable and timely way, and the steps it is taking to support this. In laying this statement before Parliament, it formally replaces the Shale Gas and Oil Policy Statement issued by DECC and DCLG on 13 August 2015. This statement to Parliament should be taken into account in planning decisions and plan-making.”
I confess that my own view on shale gas and oil is inclined towards the cautious and like nuclear I have reservations about the long term impact of such investments, although I accept that I do not have a complete handle on the various types of power and their costs. Indeed I suspect that many consumers are in the same position. However I do believe that wind, sun and wave based power sources are a great deal more positive than shale or nuclear. I am only one person out of 64 Million, but would just like to express my disagreement with all 3 approaches being taken by Amber Rudd and this Government.