I have been watching the run-away train that is the government's new energy bill as it careers towards us. I've thought all along, as I have listened to rumour and leaks, that, surely, no one could be so stupid as to believe that the world price of gas will be falling in the next decades when existing trends and common sense about increasing global demand argue the reverse. Not a great time for the Chancellor to dash for gas, you'd have thought, especially when it seems mostly to be located in locations with dodgy politics.
But there's all that brand new UK shale gas (actually, mostly in England, so huzzar!). That'll bring the prices down and keep the supply up , won't it? Well, to believe this, you have to think that the shale gas will be both abundant and readily available for a prolonged period, and that it will be insulated from world price effects. The first seems unlikely (but see the Telegraph today for a splash on all this); the second seems impossible.
As Damian Carrington argues, building just enough gas power stations as an adequate back up to renewable provision, and as an insurance against the lights really going out, is one thing, but to go beyond this and build as an alternative to (and therefore acting to squeeze out) renewables is quite another. Madness. Where is the courage to face down vested interests?
Where are the voices from the future?