Graham Watson MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar
A local champion with an international reputation
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Published on Tuesday 22nd November 2011
My European colleague and Conservative South West Euro-MP Giles Chichester can clearly scarcely hide his glee last week at the reduction in the feed in tariff subsidy for solar panels recently announced by the coalition government, describing the scheme as an "unsustainable distraction".
Quite what is 'sustainable' about the dwindling fossil fuels doing so much damage to our delicate climate system or the spiralling costs of nuclear I do not know.
But the reduction in the solar panel subsidy is not a victory for the nuclear lobby but simply part of the normal process of subsidies being reduced as renewables become cheaper.
Once renewable energy can compete freely with (the also heavily subsidised) oil, coal and nuclear the tariff will no longer be necessary, but until then, it is crucial to meeting the UK's CO2 reduction obligations.
Chichester also deceivingly writes that "when we switch on the lights, we want them to stay on and not be dependent on the vagaries of sun and wind". This shows that Mr. Chichester clearly knows nothing about renewables.
There are many sources of renewable energy that are not variable at all that can provide back up power, such as biomass, hydropower and tidal. In addition, if we connect up our grid to that of other European countries and create a 'supergrid' across Europe and the Sahara we have a 100% renewable and constant supply of renewable electricity for all.
So the idea of the 'lights going out' if we switch to renewables is ridiculous. Chichester is fear mongering, pure and simple.
Sir Graham Watson MEPPublished and promoted by Graham Watson MEP, The Liberty, Old Kelways, Langport, TA10 9SJ
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