Green energy eating its own tail

UKIP’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer has spoken out against the latest EU energy policies.

The party’s MEP for the East Midlands spoke in an plenary session in Brussels last week on the EU’s objectives for ‘secure, affordable and sustainable energy.’

He said: “For many years the EU has followed policies which directly militate against those objectives.

“Germany, with the largest renewables investment, now uses increasing volumes of lignite. In the UK, we are planning to use diesel generation as back-up.”

Mr Helmer quoted a front page story from The Economist magazine, ‘Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret.’

He said: “It says we have created regulatory and subsidy structures which militate against energy infrastructure investment, and threaten security of supply.

“Yet the EU’s latest proposal amounts to little more than bureaucratic paper-pushing.”

His comments follow reports this week on the House of Lords report into the energy policies of the past three Governments.

The report criticises the open-ended nature of renewables subsidies.

Mr Helmer said: “Hard-working families, and indeed industry, is hit by the the costs of renewables and the EU and successive Government’s obsession with them.

“The cost of this obsession with weather-dependent energy is plunging us into an energy crisis.

“As reports say, it doesn’t matter how many extra renewables we subsidise, the wind won’t blow harder, nor the sun shine more – and that extra cost burden is carried by ordinary families and businesses up and down the land.”

The message of GM’s EU exit

General Motors’ decision to sell Opel/Vauxhall to Peugeot is a reminder that the European market is in decline. Post-Brexit Britain needs to look beyond it.

As Matthew Lynn points out in the Telegraph, by selling Opel/Vauxhall, GM isn’t pulling out of Britain. It’s pulling out of Europe. That’s telling.

GM hasn’t had an easy decade anywhere. It was bailed out by the US government in 2008, temporarily ending up in public ownership.

But its lack of profitability this side of the Atlantic has much more to do with the European market.

Annual car sales in the EU are still 20% lower than they were in 2007. By contrast, US car sales hit a new record in 2016 – with GM’s sales in December 2016 10% higher than in December 2015.

The EU’s economic problems aren’t going away. Another sovereign debt crisis is imminent. The EU doesn’t have the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions. And even if it did, the plain fact is that Europe is in demographic decline.

Whichever way you look at it, the European market is shrinking. It’s no longer the comparatively dynamic trading bloc that Britain joined forty years ago.

Britain needs to reorient its economy toward the growing regions of the world to prosper. That would have been the case whatever the result of the referendum.

Of course we want – and will negotiate – access to the EU market post-Brexit. But we can’t stake our future on it.

Brexit provides the opportunity we need to revamp our trade policy for the twenty-first century. Let’s make sure we take it