A few days ago, he spelt out just why our energy bills have risen so massively, in his remarkably up-front comment on the increase in gas-driven power stations.
The UK's "dash for gas" will be halted by the government because if unchecked it would break legally binding targets for carbon dioxide emissions, Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, said on Monday evening.
"We will not consent so much gas plant so as to endanger our carbon dioxide goals," he told a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrats party conference in Birmingham.
The number of gas-fuelled power plants is increasing rapidly because they are fast and cheap to build compared with alternatives. They also create about half the carbon emissions of coal-powered plants and have been seen as a "transition fuel", helping smooth the path to zero-carbon electricity.
In general, gas-fired stations are a good thing—especially if you are trying to adopt renewable energy in the form of the massively unreliable wind turbines—because the stations can be spun up and down relatively quickly.
Further, they are quicker and cheaper to build, relatively, than any other type, they emit less carbon dioxide than fuels such as coal (if you care about such things) and, as such, are the only things that are likely to keep the lights on.
And, presumably, any government would want to keep the lights on. After all, the Three Day Week didn't do much for the electoral prospects of that utter bastard Heath. And, given our far greater reliance on electricity for every aspect of our home and business lives than in the Seventies, any party who let rolling black-outs become a feature of their government would be unlikely to see power again for a very long time.
However, one of the downsides of gas—and this seems to exercise even those who do not give a shit about climate change—is the fact that we have to buy a lot of it from Russia. And that leads to otherwise sensible people starting to use phrases such as "energy security"...
So, Cuadrilla Resources's announcement (which came only two days after Huhne's "dash for gas" comments) must be seen as an amazing discovery.
A company backed by former BP chief Lord Browne claims to have found a gas field near Blackpool that could be the largest ever discovered in Britain.
Cuadrilla Resources believes there are 200 trillion cubic feet of "shale" gas in the Bowland basin, which could result in a Lancashire gas boom creating 5,600 jobs at peak production.
Shale is a type of onshore gas common in the US, which is extracted by blasting apart rock in a process called fracking.
More testing is needed, but the estimates suggest Britain could have more shale gas than Poland, which has been considered Europe's biggest holder of probable reserves.
As has been pointed out, not all of the 200 TCF will actually be recoverable but, even at 50%, this find could deal with all of our power needs—at peak usage—for 30 years.
If our supposedly sovereign government would now just turn around and tell the near-bankrupt EU to fuck off, we can keep the lights on and stick two fingers up at Russia. It's a win-win situation.
Not only that, but it is likely that Cuadrilla's find is not the only one likely.
It’s not just Blackpool you know:Widespread in the Craven Basin, including the Lancaster, Garstang, Settle, Clitheroe and Harrogate districts, south Cumbria and the Isle of Man; also in North Wales, Staffordshire and the East Midlands.
It is, to use a technical term, friggin’ huge mate.
It's also interesting to note that most of the reserves seem to be in ex-industrial, Labour-supporting areas of the country. This could be a neat chance for the Coalition to try to pick up some support in these traditionally red-voting areas, might it not?
Of course, if the Coalition block these developments (and the lots of lovely jobs and prosperity that go with them), then they are going to find themselves really very unpopular.
And even more so when the black-outs start.
So, Chris: your move...
UPDATE: this discussion is becoming ever more urgent since the ten new nuclear power stations that Huhne was hoping for almost certainly will not materialise...
SSE pulls out of the nuclear game. Well of course they do. And it's a cert that neither E.on nor RWE will be up for it either any more, given the pounding they are getting in Germany and their well-publicised shortages of capital; Centrica have voiced their (very sensible) doubts: which just leaves EDF, and the depleted GdF/Iberdrola JV now that SSE have deserted them. I could just about imagine EDF approving one new UK nuke in the next 2-3 years, if Crapper Huhne's new Capacity Payments scheme (due to be published later this year) attracts them sufficiently.
Now Huhne was hoping for 10 new nukes. 'Perhaps one, maybe' looks a bit thin in that context. There comes a point, and it may not be long now, when the required 'run-rate' of new investment becomes plainly infeasible. Actually, it is already, but not quite obvious enough yet, it seems.
Every politicians wants to be remembered: but do Huhne and the Coalition really want to be remembered as the people who shut down the British economy...? It's time to get a grip, guys...