OPENER: GOVERNANCE FOR ENERGY
The immediacy of modern communications has driven politicians to ever shorter summaries and sound bites about important policies. The Finance industry uses similarly opaque nostrums about economics, analysing yesterday's results with ideas not present in their earlier predictions. Much more serious is the consistent failure to execute the policies, though many lessons are said to be learned.
Governance is split into Agencies which handle special topics or areas, Departments responsible for Energy, Industry, regulation and planning, and the core government actions of Governance.
Energy is a prime example. The electricity systems can only move slowly because of their size and complexity. At the same time the industry is very competent at building things when projects are approved.
The world needs to change a large fraction of the infrastructure in a very short time due to the needs to meet the challenges of Climate Change, the decline of cheap oil, population growth, rising standards of living and energy consumption, increased reliance on natural gas, and so on.
The EU and the UK have been very slow to develop a clear understanding that Renewables means a vast agglomeration of new windmills, solar panels, hydroelectric plants, and backup by many new gas fired power stations and very high power backup electricity grids across the continent. Instead we have a piecemeal development, valley by valley to install these land hungry systems and a patchwork of new grid lines to connect them. It is either dishonest or incompetent to perform this way.
In February, 2013, the UK energy regulator, OFGEM, announced that 10% of our power stations are to close over the next 2 years with no imminent replacements. The media treated this as news, though it has been part of the plan since 2000.
UK Nuclear policy under Blair's government swung from a determination to eliminate it to a reluctant view that it might be necessary. The Coalition government has focussed on rewriting the rules so that nuclear projects cannot be talked out of court by anti-nuclear groups. An actual contract to build even one new reactor is still not signed while 65 reactors are ordered and under construction around the world.
Our initial selection of overviews of energy governance covers UK Emissions, Climate Change, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and a wider view from the World Bank in Washington.
None of these talk about necessary improvements in Governance for our energy supplies. Lobbying for a few ministers to push for more expertise in the decision and implementation teams, but a few votes will not produce action.