Britain's Dim Energy Future

A story that appeared in Tuesday’s Telegraph suggests electricity prices in Britain are on the verge of skyrocketing over the next five years. The problem is that the government was in a rush to shut down “the dirtiest coal-fired stations” in order to comply with EU pollution laws.

Ministers admitted that Britain faced a “looming energy gap” but blamed the
previous government for agreeing to shut coal plants too quickly.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, admitted that consumers could feel a
lights on”, he insisted.

Do you want to live in a country where keeping the lights on requires government intervention? Plans to replace this lost generation capacity with nuclear and wind power are behind schedule. The resultant gap will have to be filled with natural gas produced by fracking; however, Britain is also behind on that front and “experts consider it unlikely that significant supplies could
become available before 2020.”

The result of this EU mandated rush to cleanse the environment is that consumer electricity costs, already high, are going to go up significantly over the next decade. How high? According to one former government regulator the increase in electricity prices is “impossible to predict.” Another regulator expresses concern that people aren’t being prepared for the steep price hikes that are almost surely coming in a few years.

President Obama has used new EPA regulations to shutter coal power plants here in the U.S., not unlike what the EU has done in Britain. We might be facing a similar energy crunch if it weren’t for the boom in natural gas produced by fracking. This means that, unlike the UK, we have an abundant, domestic alternative energy source. But environmental groups continue to fight the use of fracking and demand the administration shut it down as well. To avoid Britain’s dim future, the President needs to reject green extremism.