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United Kingdom: Why Whitehall hates solar panels

Officials dislike the idea of microgeneration because it gives someone else the power to take decisions, says Geoffrey Lean.

Source:  Copyright 2009, Telegraph
Date:  July 10, 2009
Byline:  Geoffrey Lean
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Politicians, like the rest of us, are always being urged to "think big". But, for me, the most interesting issue over the next week or so is going to be rather different: is Ed Miliband big enough to think small?

The question arises because our precocious young Energy and Climate Change Secretary is about to publish plans for a tenfold increase in renewable energy in Britain in little over a decade. The strategy will show whether Mr Miliband has more faith in the British people or in (and I fully realise that this is saying something) possibly the most incompetent and obscurantist collection of civil servants in Whitehall.

Let me explain. For decades, Britain has generated its energy from big installations: whopping great fossil fuel power stations that belch out carbon dioxide to add to global warming; mammoth nuclear power stations with a shocking record of construction delays and cost overruns; oversized wind farms, sometimes plonked down in wholly ...

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