You may have heard the news about the inability of the Scottish Government to meet their target of reducing CO2 emissions. Bearing in mind that they want to reduce the emissions by 42% of the 1990 levels, which is set in law, by 2020 and so far they’ve managed 24%. That sounds pretty good but it masks the fact of the de-industrialisation, which took place in Scotland in the 1990s.
The reason they have been whining is mainly because of the cold winter in 2010. Yes I know, who would have thought that Scotland has cold winters? The real problem though was that people put their heating on or had it at a higher level. Shock, horror, probe!
The Green Party in Scotland have the solution however. More people should insulate their homes so they need to use less heating. Doh! Like we haven’t all been doing this for years because we can’t afford not to due to the high energy costs we have to suffer. The energy costs contain various additional costs, which relate to subsidising windmills, solar panels and wave things. It’s not optional either. It just happens. End off.
Anyway, when I heard how the politicians were reacting it got me thinking about what will happen in the next few years. You see there is a fairly large elephant in the room. One that is so large and which will have such a huge effect on our energy use that no one really talks about it.
Enter smart meters. In the next year or two smart meters will be installed in your home. The premise is that these will provide more accurate billing and will allow the energy providers to more easily meet demand since they will have a better idea of the way in which your household, along with millions of others, use energy.
The last part of that is quite serious. The energy providers will be able to tell when you are out, on holiday or having a party so it’s going to be a bit intrusive then. But they will have the tools to go a good bit further. They will have the power to control the amount of energy that you can have.
So what happens in 2014? It’s a cold winter again and people reach for their thermostats and set them to a higher temperature? Perhaps the temperature won’t go up. Now that sounds fanciful and ridiculous, but is it really? If the energy providers are required by law to pay for every ton of CO2 that they produce as a by product of producing energy will that not have an effect on how they price and deliver energy? If they over price it people will fail to pay their bills so reducing the energy to them will stop them using it and not being able to pay for it?
Would the government insist that only enough energy is made available which would help meet their CO2 targets? Would energy rationing become a reality? If we have to rely on windmills then we won’t have enough electricity anyway. Remember that traditional power stations have to be maintained to take up the slack from windmills if it’s not windy or too windy.
This is all to reduce CO2 emissions. The UK accounts for just less than 2% of global CO2 emissions, so Scotland will be responsible for 0.2%. In all probability it is less than that since there is so much more heavy industry down south. So it is a small amount and getting smaller as China and India etc. ramp up their industries and economy.
Cold kills more people than heat does. We live in a cooler bit of the UK. We need to heat our homes. We need to be able to afford our heating bills. We don’t want to lead the world in reducing CO2 emissions. We just want to live our lives in our own country and be able to not just survive but make progress. Crippling energy costs won’t allow this.
The current policies on energy are not conducive to that aim. The oil and gas resources we have along with potential shale gas and increased hydro should mean that our energy costs are low. Yes low. In the USA the cost of gas has dropped by a huge amount. Cheap energy is the key to a booming economy, which is the key to a good standard of living for us all, not just for the rich but for us all.
Why are the SNP going down this route? Can anyone answer that Alex?