Counting the cost

Matthew Young’s comments in ‘Oil-price ostriches’ (Talking Point, 14 January) provided interesting but some illogical conclusions concerning energy.

The correct view that oil prices will remain high follows the growing global GDP which is starting to dwarf the influences of the US economy and the summer downturns in oil consumption.

However, the move to alternative energy is virtually solely due to the current political mantra followed by some countries in fear of Stern’s or Al Gore’s dire climate change predictions. Alternative energy is not required at this time for economic survival of the EU, nor will it make the slightest difference to CO2 levels with current global growth.

In fact, the threat to economic survival is the hell-bent rush to renewables forced by the EU, compared with most other countries. Indeed, engineers know that increased economic prosperity would have remained in the UK if the foolish dash for gas policy had not occured (gas was far too versatile and valuable a fuel to have been wasted in power stations); if coal reserves, which are plentiful, had continued to be vigorously used to maintain 70 per cent of power generation; and if renewable energy only been adopted at competitive market prices.

Now we have extremely high electricity prices (due to gas and renewables obligation) and fast rising food prices and, as Mr Young admits, the taxpayer will subsidise renewables.

Oil demand has already raised energy prices and dragged up gas prices. However, prices are accelerating faster due to the above policies and other EU restrictive regulation. This makes us less competitive, leaving consumers with less available money to spend. Our goods are now increasingly made by coal-burning countries such as India and China.

In a few decades time, let market forces create genuine renewables business. For now, maintain some diversity by renewing nuclear reactors on the current nuclear sites to maintain the current nuclear energy output. Surely the green lobby would allow that?

P Field

St Albans, Herts