Alarmist headlines in the UK today proclaimed the “tripling” of energy bills to pay for “green energy”. But the scaremongering belied a story that is positive for the British economy, the climate, the consumer and the European wind energy industry.
The feature of the upcoming energy bill most media seized on was that energy firms will be allowed to triple the amount of money consumers pay for so-called “green” measures, including renewables but also nuclear power.
But the measure will increase investor certainty in the wind energy and renewables industries and give a massive boost to the British economy: according to ministers, it will stimulate at least €110 billion in investments across the board and create 125,000 jobs.
What is more, it will actually save the consumer money in the long run. The Guardian pointed out that, “by the end of the decade the benefits of energy-saving measures and less reliance on expensive fossil fuel power will mean bills are actually lower than they would be without the green policies”, and linked to this infographic, which shows just that.
A closer examination of the figures shows that currently the British government’s green measures make up just 1.6% of an average electricity and gas bill, and that this could rise to 4.8% with the new bill. Higher gas prices have been the main driver of increasing energy bills over the last eight years according to the UK Government’s electricity and gas market regulator Ofgem.
Finally, those reporters delighting in painting support for green measures as a terrible and disportionate burden on the consumer might like to check the OECD figures which show coal, oil and gas in the UK getting £3.63 billion in subsidies in 2010, while onshore and offshore wind received only £700 million in the year to April 2011 – five times less than fossil fuels. Read more here.