Iceland electricity cable is a “fig leaf” for lack of proper strategy, says GMB

by - 12th April 2012, 11.53 BST

Talk of an international electricity cable from Iceland to the UK is a “fig leaf” to cover up the government’s lack of energy strategy, says the GMB.

The union says the collapse of the Horizon nuclear consortium has left the government’s energy strategy in tatters, with the inter-connector being used to cover up the government’s  scrambling around trying to find some way of filling the energy gap.

GMB national secretary for energy Gary Smith said: “Talk of an inter-connector across the ocean from Iceland is an interesting idea. At the moment it is little more than that. It would be a massive engineering undertaking and it won’t happen for many years if at all. To build it would require nearly one million tonnes of copper for example.

“The collapse of the Horizon nuclear consortium due to the decision of RWE and Eon to withdraw from nuclear new build has left the government’s energy strategy in tatters. See notes to Editors below for GMB statement. So announcements on inter-connectors are nothing more than fig leafs to try and cover up the fact that the Government is desperately scrambling around trying to resurrect the Horizon nuclear project or find some way of filling the energy gap.

“The Lib Dem part of the coalition are also clearly embarrassed that their green credentials have been blown away with the way the solar industry was devastated when feed- in tariffs were cut and the lack of progress on the green deal.

“The reality is the bedrock of UK energy policy has to be nuclear and gas. The government has no strategy for either. The Tories and the Lib Dems need to get a grip and face the fact that the private energy sector is unable to make the decisions needed to keep the lights on.   We can see where reliance on the private sector utilities gets us as we have a hosepipe ban impacting on 20 million consumers in a nation with abundant supplies of water less than 150 miles from where it is needed.

“One obvious way forward is for government to re-task the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and re-name it as the Nuclear Development Authority and that this body take over the Horizon project and bring on stream six nuclear power stations. That would be action rather than windy talk.”