Britain’s need for a coherent long-term energy strategy has been woefully neglected by governments of both left and right. One example is the furore over the plan for a new and hugely expensive nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Another is provided by the latest official statistics on the sort of energy the UK uses and where it comes from.
The good news is that Britain is consuming 17% less energy than it was in 1998, and more of what is used is coming from renewable sources. But don’t get too excited. Green energy has increased from 1% of the total to just 9%.
The bad news is that the percentage of energy Britain now has to import has returned to the levels last seen in the early 1970s, before North Sea oil came on stream. In the late 1990s, the UK exported 20% more energy than it imported. Today its imports are only just below the average for the EU.