This book surveys decision-making inthe energy field, especially electricity in the UK and Western Europe, andprovides a critique of the various claims that are made for different ways ofapproaching the critical need for vast amounts of new investment. It explores reasons for the paralysis indecision-making, which is contrasted with past periods of rapid change,including the growth of electricity and renewables in the late 19th century,the development of centralised grids in the 1920s and 1930s and the rapiddeployment of nuclear power in the 1970s and 1980s. It briefly reviews the history of each major fuel then considers thereasons for the decision sclerosis and suggests possible ways out of it.
Itreviews the difficulties of investing in long-term electricity generatingcapacity in competitive marketplaces; the problems caused by a lack ofunderstanding of basic physics among elected representatives coupled with adegree of short-term political opportunism; the fundamentally dishonestapproach of the Big Green industry; a naive approach to communication on the partof the energy industry itself and a lax approach to scientific rigour amongthose advocating action against climate change which has bred disillusionmentand suspicion. Comparisons with recent experience in Germany and Japan areoffered to illustrate the issues.