Sunday, May 26, 2013

The EU's great green U-turn on policy that is sending energy bills soaring across the continent

The EU is now urging members to begin 'fracking' for cheap natural gas
Opposition from green activists had previously stalled efforts to start
It comes as MPs prepare to debate the final stages of the Energy Bill
The European Union is quietly taking steps to shred the ‘green agenda’ responsible for rocketing energy bills across the continent.
It is now urging members to restore Europe’s competitiveness by ‘fracking’ for cheap natural gas from shale, instead of pushing ‘renewable’ energy subsidies which cost consumers billions of pounds.
The policy shift was unveiled last week at a Brussels summit attended by David Cameron.
A fracking facility in Preston, Lancashire. The EU is now urging its members to adopt the technology in order to tap supplies of cheap natural gas
It comes as MPs prepare to debate the final stages of the Energy Bill when Parliament returns after its Whitsun recess.
But Tory MP Tim Yeo, who was paid a total of £245,000 in the last two financial years by green energy and transport companies, has moved an amendment which would increase this burden still further.
It would force the UK to set a binding target of cutting the carbon dioxide emitted by generating electricity by 90 per cent by 2030 – a goal many experts regard as impossible.
But Labour and at least 16 Tories and Liberal Democrats have pledged to support it, and it may well become law.
The EU’s about-turn has been prompted by news that electricity prices in Europe have risen by 40 per cent since 2005, while those in the US have fallen by 10 per cent.
The main reason for America’s cheap energy is its booming shale gas industry.
Many EU nations – including Britain – have their own vast reserves of shale gas, but fierce opposition from green activists has stalled efforts to extract it.
But after last week’s summit, EU leaders issued a statement saying ‘the supply of affordable and sustainable energy to our economies is crucial’.
They added that the EU would support ‘systematic recourse to on-shore and off-shore indigenous resources’ – a reference to shale.
Brussels observers say the summit reflected a shift away from policies aimed primarily at cutting emissions, and towards a drive for cheaper energy.
German MEP Holger Krahmer said: ‘The EU is starting to realise we achieve very little by setting targets for ourselves when the rest of the world won’t, while rising bills are plunging families into poverty.’
Ironically, Energy Secretary Ed Davey will tomorrow urge his European counterparts to cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.