Azara Blog: Renewable energy means higher bills

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Date published: 2005/02/11

The BBC says:

Consumers face a 5% rise in electricity bills by the end of the decade to help meet government targets on renewable energy, an official report says.

The National Audit Office (NAO) report says that renewable energy is a relatively expensive way for Britain to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

The government hopes to generate 10% of the country's energy by renewable sources within five years.

The NAO says this target is achievable but at a cost of more than £1bn a year.

BBC environment correspondent Richard Black said the government's progress on renewable energy was "lagging" and some previous reports have suggested that the government would not meet its target.

However, the NAO report found that the government was on track to meet the 10% figure.

This was despite the amount of electricity generated by renewable sources, such as wind power, being only 2.4% in the 2003/4 financial year, against a target of 4.3%.
The government hopes to double the level of energy generated by renewables to 20% by 2020.

The NAO said in its report: "The use of renewable energy on this scale would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by between 20 million and 27 million tonnes, and increase the diversity and hence the security of the United Kingdom's energy supplies."

The NAO report also claimed there are cheaper ways to reduce production of greenhouse gases, such as promoting energy efficiency.

The last sentence is the most crucial. Energy efficiency is not sexy so does not get discussed. Wind power is sexy so does get discussed (and vastly subsidised). In the UK much wind power is being forced offshore, because there is a lot of opposition to it being sited onshore, which makes the cost much higher. Of course if the companies that put up the turbines were forced to pay compensation to the people who were affected, which they should but do not, then this would not be as great an issue. Unfortunately in the UK there is never compensation in these circumstances, forcing a small minority to subsidise energy production for the vast majority.

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