Azara Blog: UK government wants to throw money at households that produce energy

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Date published: 2009/07/12

The BBC says:

Households that contribute electricity to the National Grid are to receive payments under a new government scheme.

Towns and villages will be encouraged to generate their own power with wind, water and solar energies, and then be paid for how much they produce.

Critics warn that small-scale production is expensive and projects may require government subsidy.

But Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said the project will "help create the clean energy of the future".
Since so-called "feed-in tariffs" were introduced in Germany, some 400,000 homes, particularly in the sunnier south of the country, have installed solar panels.

But the government has had to subsidise such projects in order to keep them viable.

If the government (any government) has "to subsidise such projects in order to keep them viable" then by definition they are not viable. One of the reasons there is a problem with carbon is that (most) users of carbon are implicitly subsidised (car drivers in the UK are not). Whenever anyone gets an implicit or explicit subsidy it means that they have more money to spend on consuming other sources of energy (most of which produce carbon). It is completely the wrong approach. And the reason that "small-scale production is expensive" is because it is a stupidly inefficient approach to producing energy. The main beneficiaries of this kind of subsidy are the academic middle class, who love producing their own energy because they can pretend to be "green", when in fact they are not.

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