Diesel, emissions, DriveWrite Automotive, motoring, car, blog

Diesel Bad, Diesel Good

Unless you have been orbiting Pluto with a broken smartphone you will have heard of the Volkswagen diesel ‘furore’ and the ripple effect it is having throughout the European car industry. Enough said about that; but how much do you care one way or the other?

Even if you swallow the climate change argument hook, line and sinker there is very little you can do about it except, perhaps, to forswear diesel-powered cars and switch to the petrol version or even one of the alternative fuels.

A couple of decades back we were actively encouraged to buy diesel-engine cars and now look what’s happened. It seems to me that whatever decisions we make about our motors will always be wrong because of the shifting sands of the eco-thinking at any given time.

So if we all decide that diesel is truly bad and Do The Right Thing what is going to happen to all that nasty diesel that pollutes the air from our tailpipes? Well, don’t worry, the solution is out there – the green energy supply industry will buy it all to drive their diesel generators!

Did you know that wind and solar power companies are actively being encouraged to install the generators in order to provide stand-by capacity at times of peak demand? What’s more they are getting subsidies paid for by – guess who? Right first time Reader – you, the taxpayer.

Now call me pedantic but isn’t using diesel power to produce electricity rather defeating the object? In my naivety I though that solar and wind power were meant to replace fossil fuels for generating energy. Our lovely, caring government poured our cash into these schemes and many people leaped onto this bonanza with alacrity. Then the money waterfall ran dry and all the enthusiasm to save the planet dried up with it. Now though, investors – and there’s suddenly a lot of them again – have spotted the new subsidies sparkling like nuggets of gold in the desert and jumped in with both feet.

What appears to have happened is that via some unspoken acknowledgement the purveyors of the green dream have realised that solar and wind power alone just won’t cut it as things stand. Obviously, those companies currently installing the diesel farms and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (Ha!) are saying that it is a short-term solution to cover capacity needs. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they because to be honest for once just isn’t in their remit. So how long exactly is the short term please?

Ten years? Twenty? Who knows? What is clear is that for wind, wave and solar power to meet our needs almost all the beautiful British land and coastal scapes would have to be blighted like acne on a teenager’s face. Near to where I live is one of the biggest solar farms in the country and it doesn’t matter how you serve it up with fancy garnish it is an eyesore of epic proportions. Now they are going to supplement their output with diesel generators – despite objections from locals who are about to have their clean air polluted. Bloody brilliant.

I’m no fan of nuclear power but right now I can see no alternative if we are truly to give up on fossil fuels. Can you see the irony of having your electric car charged up with juice supplied via diesel-powered generation?

Car drivers – whether in Volkswagens or not – have been singled out as being the guilty parties of death thanks to poisonous exhaust emissions. Car manufacturers have been driven to achieve near-impossible pollution targets and this EU pressure has resulted in cheating; a fraud I suspect that will rear its head around the world.

So there you have it. The extra taxes you pay for having the temerity to drive diesel engines are being used to subsidise – diesel engines. You couldn’t make it up. Geoff Maxted