Road to net zero will be rocky but worth it. Just as London’s congestion charge was once bitterly opposed, so too will be the other necessary sacrifices ahead of us. In 2012 more than 100 Conservative MPs wrote to David Cameron telling him to abandon onshore wind power. Tellingly, they argued that wind power was expensive and inefficient. Cameron, characteristically, capitulated and promised to block future onshore wind installations. Not for the last time, he misjudged one of the big trends of our times, a mistake Boris Johnson should learn from. Those Tory opponents of wind power were wrong, and wrong in a very un-Conservative way: they bet against the market. They failed to anticipate one of the most important developments in the past decade of human history: the sharply falling cost of renewable energy. Globally, the cost of power from onshore wind is down 70 per cent since 2010. That’s because markets work. The financial incentive to generate more power from renewables more cheaply drove industry to innovate and improve. Ignoring Cameron’s feebleness, the market anticipated demand for renewable energy and innovated to meet it. Comparing new sites, it’s now cheaper to get power from new wind than to burn coal. The road to net zero won’t be short or simple. But we can get there, powered by private money and the innovation of the market. All that’s needed is a government to point the way.
Times 26th July 2021 read more »