Great Britain's Energy Paralysis

Most politicians in the UK know very little about energy. It is an extremely complicated sector and most of us who have worked over decades for energy companies still struggle to understand it. Few, if any, politicians were elected for anything to do with energy so, in power, they rely heavily on their advisers.

The question becomes, have these advisers worked for any energy companies (rather than being academics, civil servants or policy people)? I guarantee you that both the Prime Minister and Chancellor had hardly thought about energy until coming to power. I know as I was one of their expert advisers before 2010. I worked most closely with Greg Barker, being new to his role as Shadow Energy & Climate Change Minister and enjoyed being able to help him on some of his speeches and introduce other experts. This ended when they took power and I started my own business, SecondNature.

When you examine the Prime Minister and Chancellor's current views on energy, you can quickly tell that they have formed a mental paradigm which is now unbreakable. They have concluded that solar panels and wind farms are ugly, expensive and unpopular with their voters. The Prime Minister also said this to a friend recently. They are locked in a 20th Century centralized view of energy generation and determined to back large nuclear and gas power plants, having been persuaded that embedding small-scale green technologies in a decentralized model is not the answer. Globally, we are on the verge of an internet of clean energy revolution and, though they maintain that they do not pick winners, there can be no doubt that they have picked neither the clean nor decentralized horses. A quick calculation of where the budget is committed reveals that almost all of it is for fossil fuels and nuclear.

I have followed closely as the old paradigm became entrenched at the top of Government and their patience for alternatives disappeared. Now, they are simply annoyed by anything green, whether or not it makes economic sense. Poor judgement and poor advisers have taken over - Hinkley Point is just one example. Tragically, we will all suffer as a result, particularly our children.