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A proper energy policy means tough choices - letter in the Times, 19 May 2014

Sir, Your leader (“Wanted: an Energy Policy”, May 13) is a good summary of the dire situation politicians of all stripes have allowed to develop. Any government will find it embarrassing to back down from the obligations on emissions and renewable energy set by the Committee on Climate Change; however, there must be many in Westminster who now realise the futility of current policy.

Meanwhile, the government encourages renewable energy by providing the public subsidy which makes it seem economic. The German situation should be a warning. It subsidises very large numbers of wind and solar energy installations, which either swamp the grid or provide almost no electricity, depending on the weather, and therefore need a high level of conventional backup.

The reaction to the Fukushima accident hastened the closure of Germany’s nuclear reactors which provided reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy. These are being replaced by stations burning brown coal, one of the dirtiest energy sources imaginable, and German consumers pay some of the highest energy prices in the EU.

At least the Germans are building new power stations. If next winter is a cold one, the 2015 UK election could well be won by the party with a realistic energy policy that will keep the lights on.

Martin Livermore

Cambridge