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Scotland: Temperatures over Renewable Energy Bill hikes are heading to an explosive boiling point

Bill Jamieson — The Scotsman — October 13, 2013

IF IT is set to be a cold comfort winter for households as domestic energy bills are hiked, the political temperature is heading in the opposite direction: an explosive boiling point.

The truth of UK energy policy has been lost in a maze of subsidies, charges, floor prices and renewables targeting that has led to relentless price increases.

The latest 8.2 per cent rise announced by SSE will almost certainly be followed by the other energy suppliers and will raise the average domestic dual fuel energy bill by £106 to £1,380.

It is, said one industry expert, “the final nail in the coffin for affordable energy”. But it is only a wonder how it has taken so long for this nail to strike home.

Last week’s announcement may have given the impression of hapless energy companies struggling against the impersonal forces of world energy markets. But this is a crisis largely created by successive UK governments. I am grateful to leading energy expert Tony Lodge for an analysis published by the Centre for Policy Studies. Not everyone will go along with some of his radical suggestions, but his account is a useful aide-mémoire of how we got here.

Back at a meeting of the European Union Council in 2007, Tony Blair committed the UK to have 15 per cent of our total energy derived from renewables. The level at the time was just 1.2 per cent. No economic impact assessment was put before the prime minister, or indeed commissioned, though in fairness such an exercise could only have been speculative guesswork.

This ambitious target was dwarfed by the commitment to source 35 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020. Given the tide of political enthusiasm for green energy at the time, when the PM’s finger pointed at the moon, who dared to examine the finger?

Last year renewables, including biomass, provided less than 11 per cent of UK electricity, against coal and gas combined at 70 per cent. So the huge switchover inevitably involved substantial costs and sharply higher bills both for business and household consumers. But there was another problem: decommissioning of existing coal-fired plants could land the UK with a crisis of supply. National Grid recently warned again about blackouts and price spikes.  Continue reading, here….

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One Comment on “Scotland: Temperatures over Renewable Energy Bill hikes are heading to an explosive boiling point”

  1. cornwallwindwatch October 15, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

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