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Richard North, 19/12/2012  


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It is time to upgrade our electricity system to 2.0, says Tim Yeo, speaking at an event at Bloomberg's HQ in London, with the loss-making Guardian trailing his speech as a complaint that the government's energy strategy is "short-sighted" and "costly".

Instead of "lumbering the UK economy with a centralised power system largely reliant on gas", Yeo wants, "super efficient solar cells, anaerobic digestion, wind power, new nuclear reactors, wave and tidal power and carbon capture and storage". These, he declares, are the technologies of the future. "Smart meters, new grid technology and increased interconnection across the continent will lead to a new 'energy internet'".

What we then see for our money is, "decentralising electricity generation, giving consumers much more control of their use of energy, and empowering people and businesses, both large and small, to produce and sell electricity back to the grid themselves".

But what Yeo then describes should chill the very marrow of your bones. "The dynamic demand management allowed by these new technological developments", he tells us, "will help to address the problem posed by increasing proportions of intermittent generation in the system; gradually reducing the amount of gas back up that is needed".

There is that phrase again: "demand management". Instead of producing sufficient electricity to meet demand, Yeo's vision of the future is part of the Green Paradigm, where a shortage of electricity will require demand to be controlled to bring supply and demand into balance. This will be engineered by forcing up prices artificially. Our electricity is then rationed out on price, driving down consumption to bring the system into equilibrium.

What is Orwellian about Yeo's speech, though, is that he dresses up his dream as "giving consumers much more control of their use of energy". This is how "smart meters" are being sold, with hardly any mention of the fact that, not only can your supplier control your energy consumption, it will need to do so in order to prevent widescale blackouts.

Strangely, Yeo calls himself a Conservative, but even Orwell could not have dreamed of the degree of centralised control that this man is advocating. That external agencies should be able to reach into our homes and decide when we should be allowed to use electricity, and for what purpose, is sinister in the extreme.

But then, Yeo himself is a sinister man, milking his creed for personal enrichment. This is not a man to be trusted, and his ideas for the future are a vision of hell.

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