Is UK energy policy lacking in ambition?

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am an unabashed Francophile. Whether it’s incredible food & wine, the boulevards of Haussmann, new wave cinema, or the Musée de Art Moderne de Paris, I simply can’t get enough.

My enthusiasm also extends to French ambition when it comes to grand engineering projects. Who can fail to be impressed by the vision and sheer beauty of the Millau Viaduct, for example, the cable-stayed bridge which traverses the gorge valley of the Tarn in the Aveyron department of the Occitane region in the South of France? If you haven’t seen it, take a look: it is sheer beauty.

France’s commitment to nuclear energy and renewables is also equally impressive. At a time when most of the rest of Europe was still firmly wedded to coal and gas, France was resolutely rolling out its wind-powered turbines across vast swathes of the countryside. Granted, they may have taken a bit of getting used to, but actually now they are firmly embedded in the landscape and are, dare I suggest, quite beautiful?

France has also not been shy in doggedly sticking to a nuclear energy strategy which now, in the face of over-dependence on Russian gas by other EU member states such as Germany and Italy, seems like a stroke of genius. Did you know that the country now gets 75% of its energy from nuclear? That’s an incredible figure.

Which is why I applaud the UK’s plan, unveiled this week, to expand nuclear and offshore wind power o in a drive to bolster its own energy independence at a time of surging prices.

The UK is to increase wind, nuclear and solar generation, whilst supporting production of domestic oil and gas in the near term, the government said, adding that 95% of electricity by 2030 could be low-carbon.

Yet even here there is a glaring lack of ambition. Yes, nuclear is central to the plan, with an ambition to increase capacity to 24GW by 2050. But that would still only meet around a quarter of projected electricity demand, up from about 14% today.

Only a quarter? Pathetic! Or should I say, merde?!

Enjoy the read,

Marcus Alcock,


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