Give us more money to throw away
Three insane green energy news stories today. Firstly, Emily Gosden of The Times reports (behind the Times paywall) that we are all going to have to pay an extra £1.5 billion on our electricity bills because Government ministers gave out too much subsidy to offshore wind turbine developers.
Secondly, the Mail reports that a £23 billion scheme to encourage the use of wood-burning boilers called the Renewable Heat Incentive (if you google it, google suggests adding the word ‘scandal’) is open to abuse and has only resulted in 60,000 boiler installations. That works out at over £380k per boiler. Of course the wood-burning boilers produce air pollution and contribute to deforestation. The scheme was was introduced by former energy minister and convicted course-of-justice perverter Chris Huhne.
But the Guardian says today that the Environmental Audit Committee has declared that we need to raise more money to support green energy schemes! Apparently investment in renewable energy halved last year, and according to the committee’s chair, “The government must urgently plug this policy gap and publish its plan to secure the [billions of pounds of] investment required to meet the UK’s climate change targets, and explore how a sovereign green bond could kickstart its strategy.” That story is also at the FT.
This is all rather curious since we keep being told how cheap renewable energy is.
Looks like we’ll have to add “cheap” to the ever-growing list of words (e.g. “trick”, “fudge”, “experiments”, “transparent” etc.) that have been oh-so-conveniently redefined by these dutifully dedicated climateers.
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The promotors of climate mitigation in general, and renewables in particular, could do with understanding the concept of marginalism. One reason is clear. UK energy policy will not eliminate global CO2 emissions. Ten years on from the Climate Change Act 2008, it is evident that most countries are not following Britain’s lead on policy, and have no intention for doing so. Yet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement require for all countries on average to follow similar pathways to Britain’s intentions. Therefore rather than take the total global prospective benefits of climate mitigation against the total prospective costs, it is more rational for countries to look at the marginal benefits and costs to their citizens.
Even if the Stern Review’s claim that the theoretical benefits of potential catastrophism mitigated exceeds the actual efficient policy costs by 5 to 20 times, if only a few countries employ UK-style mitigation, they will be worse off. The countries that are net gainers will are those who free-ride on the policies of others and take advantage of the subsidized business opportunities.
It is also quite clear that the Stern Review’s claim that the cost of controlling temperature rise can be constrained to 1% of output will not hold if the policy does not work. That is if policy-makers do not attempt to create optimal policies by first critically reviewing policy prior to implementation, then managing and monitoring policy implementation, and finally learning from past policies in introducing new policies. Even if other countries fail to apply a bit of economic logic, they will hardly follow Britain’s lead if policy implementation leads to a huge waste of money along with becoming beholden to politically-motivated interest groups. The policy risks of following Britain’s lead are therefore huge.
The marginal “benefits” then are of being seen to be leaders on the world stage, the marginal costs could undermine the countries future properity. Politically, the optimal policy is therefore to produce a lot of hot air, gaining the “benefits” without the costs.
For those of us who don’t subscribe to The Times, here is The Sun on the windfarm subsidy cockup:
BOTCHED handouts to green energy firms will add £1.5billion to household bills, the official spending watchdog warned today.
The Government bungled auctions designed to boost the production of wind power, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).
That means the average household faces an extra £55 on its energy bills.
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What are you worrymongers bitching about? An extra £55 on our energy bills for a WHOLE year is a small price to pay for the virtue signalling we get for not polluting our atmosphere with unwanted oxygenated carbon. That’s only ten cafe lattes at Starbucks.
When I see those stalled tri-bladed monuments to futile gesturing my national pride undergoes a metamorphosis and my faith in capitalistic environmentalism knows no bounds.
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“This is all rather curious since we keep being told how cheap renewable energy is.”
We’re not just told it’s cheap, we’re told that wind and sun are free…
You are quite right of course. One needs to obtain the perspective of the Metropolitan Elites, on subsidised expense accounts. After all, whilst £55 will only buy you ten Starbucks lattes at the Airport, it is the price of 23 large lattes (with bacon roll in the morning) from a local Greggs, or 55 litres of base cider at a discount supermarket.
The real cost on bills is much greater than £55 if one takes into account the higher cost of distribution, the subsidies to reduce energy poverty, the strangling of competition etc. But the reality of ordinary folks is as nothing to the enlightened opinions of the climate consensus,
Manic. Your implication that my perspective (= enlightened opinions) are those of the climate consensus is misguided in the extreme. My use of a “Starbucks cafe latte” says nothing about the person using that measure. It is one of several, international comparitors like “Wales” or an “Olympic swimming pool”. It is slowly superseding use of the “McDonald’s Big Mac”.