Sometimes energy politics is more bizarre than fiction. Today’s latest twist in the saga, courtesy of new Energy Minister John Hayes, comes straight out of a comic book cartoon. You couldn’t make it up.
The week began on a triumphant superhero high – as these things always do.
The nation which brought us Godzilla, the giant lizard-like monster spawned by a nuclear accident, forever immortalising the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs in Japan’s imagination – came to the rescue of Britain’s nuclear industry.
Tech giant Hitachi is buying the Horizon project from E.ON and npower for £696million, in one heroic swoop saving the future of the project and the thousands of jobs it will provide, saving the industry from monopoly – and saving Ed Davey one monster headache.
But the jubilation was short-lived. Flick to the next page of this peculiar week: enter the sleeper agent, asleep no more.
John Hayes is known for his grandiose turn of phrase. There’s even a twitter account set up in tribute to his neat aphorisms-in-the-making (@JohnHayesTory).
In what could prove to be the greatest kamikaze mission an energy minister has ever launched, he has directed his silver-tongue to potentially grisly effect upon wind turbines.
Last night, Mr Hayes appeared in Glasgow at a conference held by… trade body RenewableUK, staunch supporter of onshore wind power. He went there having given an interview with the Daily Mail about his plans to stamp down on “imposing wind turbines on our communities”.
In the interview printed this morning, he declares: “I can’t single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land.”
The clues for this ticking time bomb were there, for those who were looking. Just the day before, on the fringe of Hitachi’s press briefing, Mr Hayes told ELN: “My position on wind has actually hardened – from a hard place to begin with”. He also confided: “I feel a bit like a Palestinian going into Jaffa.”
For Lib Dem Ed Davey, more accustomed to rescuing people from the rail tracks than needing saving himself, this latest swing of events must all be too much.
How will our usually calm protagonist cope with the pressure? Tune in tomorrow at our conference in London, Energy Live 2012 to find out…