In the U.K., the Independent bemoans the “staggering cost of renewable energy.”
As part of an EU directive designed to combat climate change, Britain is committed to generating 20 per cent of its energy by 2020 through “renewables” — a tenfold increase in the current figure. Yet even the prevailing historically high prices of oil and gas provide domestic heating at between a half and a fifth of the cost of similar amounts of energy from renewables.
By chance, I spoke about this last week to the head of E.ON UK, the British arm of Europe’s biggest supplier of wind power. Paul Golby explained to me that, because it was very hard to envisage much of a contribution from renewables for energy used by transport , this means that we would need to generate about 45 per cent of our domestic electricity bills from such sources — principally wind power — in order to conform with the EU directive known as the Renewables Obligation.
According to Mr Golby, meeting such a commitment will involve an increase in electricity generating costs of about 10 billion pounds per year; this is equivalent to almost 400 pounds per household — or, in the roughest terms, an increase of about 40 per cent in annual electricity bills. Try selling that to the British public; and, of course, the Government hasn’t. As Mr Golby told me, with understandably diplomatic understatement: “The politicians have not been entirely honest about the cost of our renewables commitment, and so the public don’t really know what’s coming their way.”