17 Jun '13, 1pm
Drumbeat: June 17, 2013
Energy policy has rarely been so topical and so political. Debates have raged recently about renewables versus fossil fuels, the cost of new nuclear, concerns over onshore wind, the 2030 decarbonisation target and, of course, shale gas. One of the problems caused by the increasing politicisation of energy policy is the tendency for people to see the debate in terms of competing extremes, rather than the need for a diverse and complex mix. There is nothing simple about energy policy. Anyone who offers you a simplistic view probably doesn't understand it. To start with, there should be no real argument about whether we need to choose between gas or renewables. We need both and will do for some time. We routinely generate over 75% of our current electricity needs from a mix of gas and coal, and 83% of our homes are heated by gas. Even a speedy increase in developing new renew...