Robert Wilson ridicules the UK voters and status quo interest groups who collectively manage to prevent nearly every kind of substitute for fossil generation. Robert wrote:
And this is where we are going. Forget NIMBYs. We have moved into the era of the BANANA. Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. Eventually, we will act like China and erect an island in the North Sea – near Dogger Bank perhaps – where everything will be done out of sight, out of mind. No one must now see how things are made in the country of the Industrial Revolution.
Robert got me wondering if there is a “third way”? We know that India, Africa, and Indonesia will be building coal plants about as fast as they can organize the financing. How could the UK convert natural NIMBY incentives into high impact investments – in the places where the most serious new emissions threats will be originating?
Is it possible that rich-country voters would prefer to enable the low-carbon generation where it’s “Not In Their Back Yards”? At least until new tomato farms are sprouting in Scotland? Would a UK taxpayer spend 1 £ to prevent 5 £ of new Nigerian coal plants that will emit for 50 years?
One pathway is to create a UK fund or agency authorized to write loan guarantees for qualifying projects. My hypothesis is that local (or foreign) equity investments could be encouraged by access to low interest rate loans.
Imagine the political advertisements promoting the new fund:
Support New Conservative Labour’s “Clean Power Africa Initiative”. Turbines for every ridge top! Nuclear plants for every Megacity! All paid for by OPM (Other People’s Money)!
Thanks to Transatomic Power for the very cool rendering. I wish I had an eye-catching image of coal CCS – because that would also surely be a priority for the fund. Not glamorous, just effective.