When Secretary of State for Energy Chris Huhne appeared on BBC Television’s The Andrew Marr Show
this morning, as well as reiterating his denial of any impropriety with regard to allegations made against him by his ex-wife concerning a driving offence
, and commenting on the ongoing News Of The World
/phone hacking scandal
, he was asked about the massive rise in energy prices that have recently been announced. His reply encompassed more than purely financial matters.
One of the major areas of concern he said was the amount of energy that is simply wasted. On Friday, he issued a statement
through his Department in which he stressed the need for a fundamental shift in Britain’s energy policy: “...the French benefit from only relying on fossil fuels for a fraction of their power - bills there are only expected to rise by 3% this year.
The UK electricity market has to change, so that we escape the cycle of fossil fuel addiction. Alternatives like renewables and nuclear power must be allowed to become the dominant component of our energy mix.
Only radical reform now will give us the best chance in the long run of keeping the lights on at a price that doesn’t wreck our economy over and over again.”
In response to Andrew Marr’s question about rising prices, Mr Huhne said there was nothing the British Government could do with regard to Middle East and world market prices, we were basically hostages to fortune, but we could, and should, and will, develop a long term strategy that is dependent on alternative energies.
Marr was unimpressed with this, and said the Government was subsidising wind farms which were manufactured with German technology. His response was that recent media reports about this and the cost of the subsidy (on consumers’ bills) were simply wrong. He might have added that who developed the technology is unimportant, once these sort of generators are in place, the running costs are significantly less than for fossil fuels, and are clean and renewable into the bargain.
Mr Huhne also denied the claim that green taxes will be used to subsidise nuclear energy, calling the stories false and the calculations supposedly made by analysts “rubbish”.
Mr Huhne doesn’t just talk a good fight; last month he issued an open letter
to Britain’s energy suppliers calling on them to improve their billing information to consumers, and next week he is publishing a White Paper on the future of renewable energy resources.