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Surrendering our future

While Germany races to deliver renewable energy, Britain's sluggish policies will cost its citizens dear

When Britain and Germany raced to scale up their aircraft industries for war in the 1930s, the British competed rather well. Recovering from a late start, we rapidly produced machines capable of winning the Battle of Britain.

Today, the two nations are on the same side in a different battle, but Germany alone is mobilising as fast as it did 70 years ago. Our common enemy is global warming, and it is already at our gates. But while our German allies are turning out the renewable energy equivalents of Messerschmitts by the factory-load, Britain is again slow to spring into action. Worse, as we learned yesterday, officials responsible for UK mobilisation have told the prime minister it is impossible for us to build modern-day Spitfires in any number. We should instead oppose European targets set recently for such mobilisation and join other laggards in order to persuade the Germans to scale back their own efforts.


Fell spelt out Germany's success with renewables. In 2000, when he and other parliamentarians pushed through a law to fast-track renewables markets, such sources contributed 6% to the national electricity mix; the target was 12% by 2010. Three years ahead of the target, they are approaching 14% - and have created 200,000 jobs in the process.

International investment patterns tell the story. Some $1 trillion, globally, will go into energy this year, and more than $100bn of that will be invested in renewables. Renewables make up just 2% of the global mix, excluding large hydropower schemes, and yet about a tenth of global energy investment now flows into them.


In 2006 the cost to the average German household of the tariff was £12 a year. The average UK household paid £7 a year under the renewables obligation, but that delivered significantly less renewable capacity. German windpower capacity is 10 times that of the UK today, and the energy it produces is 30% cheaper; German solar power capacity is 200 times that of the UK.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 06:12:19 PM EST
Solar power for the UK sounds a bit oxymoronic, but why in heaven's name my homeland isn't throwing all its resources into tidal generation, I have no idea.  Its northern latitutde makes it a natch for powerful tide operated turbines.

Maybe the fumes from burnt oil rot the brain?  we do seem to be getting stupider and stupider.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 06:20:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the UK is leading in tidal power prototypes, but even so they aren't too ambitious. Also, Northern Germany doesn't get much more Sun than Britain, so they could very well build that, too. But what Britain has most is still wind -- the country could cover all their need with wind. But the support scheme and the activism of anti-wind groups limits development...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 26th, 2007 at 04:49:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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