‘Our politicians are besotted with every form of power generation that does not work in a modern economy.’
The Government’s energy policy will cripple the economy, a leading industry veteran warned last night.
Sir Bernard Ingham, former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, lambasted ‘mad’ wind farms, ‘delusional’ energy ministers and ‘totalitarian’ climate change zealots.
And he warned plans to build wind farms large enough to power half of the country would cost £45billion more than providing the same power through a combination of gas and nuclear.
In a speech, Sir Bernard – who worked in the Department of Energy in the Seventies and is a passionate advocate of nuclear power – said: ‘Our politicians are besotted with every form of power generation that does not work in a modern economy.’
His comment came on the day Britain’s energy needs became so dire the Government was forced to launch a competition to develop technology that will help the UK meet emissions targets set by Brussels.
It is offering £1billion to anyone who can work out how to burn fossil fuels such as coal without emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.
Sir Bernard said the Government’s energy policy was ‘failing on all counts’, adding: ‘We are going backwards, not forwards. The Government needs to change its tune on nuclear power.’
Speculation has already mounted that the Government, which previously pledged not to offer subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants, may be forced to back down in order to secure new projects.
Sir Bernard also derided the state-backed Carbon Capture competition.
He said: ‘They are trying to give away £1billion to prove that up to 200 million tonnes a year of CO2 can be buried under the North Sea, even though we can be pretty sure it will double the price of electricity generated by fossil fuels.’
Sir Bernard dismissed the move as the latest in a long line of examples where the Government has backed the wrong type of energy generation.
He added: ‘None of this suggests that our coalition has a firm grasp of essentials in an economy in need of growth.
‘Producing energy by the most expensive routes is a sure way, at best, to handicap growth and at worst to bring economic and industrial decline.’
His virulent attack drew on research from Edinburgh University that showed that the Government’s wind programme would cost £120billion – almost ten times as much as the same power from gas stations.
The same amount of gas power would cost only £13billion and would only see a ‘marginal reduction in CO2 emissions’, Ingham said.
‘In the last 14 years we have witnessed a progressive loss of reason among politicians, in Whitehall and among scientists and engineers,’ he added.
He also used the speech to deride the ‘steady descent into hysteria over global warming’.
The change had led to ‘the manifest delusions of successive energy secretaries – Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and now Ed Davey,’ he said.
‘I would like some proof that the world is going to fry and that my native Yorkshire will acquire the climate of Provence,’ he added.