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Reality Checkpoint

Frequently one has the impression that energy policy is determined by people who have no understanding of our energy needs or reserves.

But every so often, little snippets of news arrive which show which way the wind is really blowing.

I'm putting some of these below.

N.D.




MORE PRICE RISES....Jun 08
A new report (30 Jun 08) for Ernst & Young says that consumers will have to find an extra 5.3 bn by 2020 to meet the EU's new emission and renewable energy targets. This represents a further rise in gas and electricity costs of about 20%. The report, entitled 'Costing the Earth', estimates that the average household will have to pay 213 per year more by 2020 to fund the 100bn or more of capital investment needed by the UK to meet EU requirements.

The report also found that two thirds of consumers surveyed were not prepared to pay more to combat climate change or to reduce energy consumption. Energy consumers believed that they should not have to pay more.

ENERGY PRICE INCREASES....Feb 08
British Gas is putting up its prices. NPower (German-owned) announced early in January increases in their gas prices (17%) and electricity (about 13%). The rises are due to climbing wholesale gas and coal prices and Britain's increasing dependence on imports to fuel its power stations. EDF (French) and EON (German) are expected to impose similar rises on their UK customers.

THE COST OF RENEWABLES....Jan 08
Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw (14 Jan 08) has said that if we're going to get energy from renewables or other low carbon sources, it's more expensive (excluding nuclear power, presumably). OFGEM said earlier in the same week that environmental costs have added 60 to the average electricity bill and 20 to the average gas bill. OFGEM also estimates that the average customer donates 31 per year to the carbon trading scheme.

MORE NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS....Jan 08
The necessity for more nuclear power stations was announced by Gordon Brown on 6 Jan 08. We need to keep warm in the winter; we need light; we need a secure electricity supply. We must reduce our dependency on imported energy. This was the P.M's message, and no reasonable person can disagree with it. See a fuller report on the nuclear energy page.

HOME WIND TURBINES 'TOO WEAK' TO TURN ON LIGHT ....Jan 08
A new report by the British Wind Energy Association reveals that many turbines are little more than expensive ornaments. Exaggerated official estimates of windspeed mean that some installed wind turbines cannot even power a light bulb. See 'Wind - small turbines' page.

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