The new energy minister Chris Huhne is evidently a nuclear sceptic (see here).
I reckon there are a few things he needs to take a long hard look at. Otherwise he could be remembered as the minister who sentenced the old and frail to death by hypothermia if we get a bad winter in 10 years time.
Currently we have about 20% of our electricity comes from an ageing fleet of British designed nuclear reactors. Very reliable, highly successful but getting old. Many of these are due to be decommissioned due to the their age. 70% of our nuclear reactors will be shut down in the next ten years.
But a another hidden portion of our electricity is actually generated by nuclear. We import electricity from France where almost 80 % of their power is generated by nuclear. Today. French nuclear power is regularly used to top up sagging British supply. This will only get worse as we lose more base-line generating capacity. We could of course simply rely ever further on French Nuclear power (as we do today to an extent) or we can properly provision and provide for our own energy supply.
So what about wind power? Let us get real. Wind power is a non starter. It is intermittent difficult to harvest and requires massive maintenance and support.
This support has to be done over a large area, often serving machines that are barely viable. If and when they break down it will be cheaper to leave them off line than to fix them until their regular servicing period arrives.
Place them off-shore and you have massive problems with transmission and the maintenance costs multiply further The only reason the utility companies are interested is due to the incredible subsidies they get. Wind power simply cannot compete with just about any other form of power generation. That competition can be on just about any criterion: reliability, availability, financial cost and (dare I say it) environmental cost per MWe.
Wind power is, in its current state of development, simply an expensive fashion statement, eagerly clutched at by anti-technology Luddites and those who kow-tow to them.
Due to the the negligence of the last government the country finds itself in an invidious position. There is likely to be a serious shortfall in generating capacity within the next ten years. Labour was simply not prepared (until it was arguably too late) to take any difficult and decisive decisions on how we will power the national grid.
Chris Huhne needs to remember he is in government to support the British people and to ensure that they have sufficient electricity to maintain their lives and jobs.
He is not there to to make fashion statements or fund latter day follies.