Huhne's contention is that this government will not bow to demands to 'abandon everything else for shale'. This is another example of the straw man argument that environmentalists love to attack. In the same way that they can pretend that sceptics dispute that there has been warming in the last two hundred years - which allows greens to state that 'warming is real' as though that's the end of the argument - so Huhne makes the claim that advocates of shale want to drop all other forms of energy generation. Of course it's absolute nonsense, but it enables Huhne to stand firm and tell us that windfarms are here to stay.
Another of his statements is worth picking out: Government should not pick winners.
Now, a truth almost universally acknowledged is that governments can't pick winners. Neither can most investors or business people. Winners emerge through an evolutionary process, bad ideas lead to bankruptcy and loss (or they would if governments didn't keep deciding that politically favoured industries or companies are too big to fail or in need of some other form of protection). But Huhne is unable to see that what his government is doing is shielding 'renewable' energy companies from the competition that would decide whether they are really winners or losers. In point of fact, even with plenty of subsidy, wind and solar are pretty much losers.
The real question to ask, and one which Huhne ducks, is whether shale will even be allowed to enter the competition. Huhne enumerates the many reasons why gas is a good source of energy, but in his eyes it is clear that what stands in its favour is the ability to provide back-up power for when the wind doesn't blow and the windfarms stand idle. And, to this effect, he states that:
We are keen that the market continues to invest in the capacity, storage and infrastructure to support our import needs, and are working with Ofgem to sharpen the incentives to ensure that suppliers can meet demand.
So, it's OK to import the stuff, but that's as far as it goes.
However, it's also clear that the pressure to go for shale is building. Good. We need to increase the pressure. Once shale is up and running then we'll see just how competitive the windfarms, solar and other 'renewables' really are. Anyone care to bet on windfarms coming out on top? No, I thought not...