Archive | November 2013

The true cost of our energy

One might be able to agree more with L J Jenkins (‘Halt green nonsenseSolar Panels’, 11 November) and Gordon W Triggs (‘Feeling the burden of green taxes’, 12 November) if they were calling for the removal of all public subsidies for power generation.

All forms of power generation in the UK are subsidised from the public purse through reduced VAT, tax breaks and incentives, the “strike price” guaranteed to generators and the cost of cleaning up after nuclear power.

According to the OECD subsidies for oil, coal and gas alone amount to over three times the subsidies paid to renewables, and it is impossible to calculate the full cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations and dealing with radioactive waste.

The difference is, of course, that “green taxes” are highly visible in our household bills, whereas the tax breaks and incentives are hidden from view in the complex deals that government makes with power generators.

If we were to strip out all public finance support from all energy production then it’s blindingly obvious that renewable energy is the cheapest, for the simple reason that the fuel is free.  It doesn’t have to be mined or manufactured; it doesn’t have to be transported or processed; and there is no waste to be dealt with or stored for hundreds of years until we can find a way to make it safe.

All things being equal, renewable energy has to be the best deal for the climate and the consumer.


Fracking will NOT reduce energy bills

David Beynon  (‘Let’s get fracking’, Evening Post, 31 October) should be careful what he wishes for.

Living in Pontarddulais, he and his neighbours are in the front line of unconventional gas development; caught between plans for Underground Coal Gasification in the Loughor Estuary and Coal Bed Methane extraction in the former coalfields.

The devastation that the frackers will wreak across the countryside will make them long for the days when all they were threatened with was “ugly” windmills spoiling their view.

The “subsidy” paid to green energy producers pales into insignificance when compared to public finance support for nuclear energy or the tax incentives being offered to frackers.

Although local companies might be involved in exploration for unconventional gas, when it comes to extraction the big multi-nationals will move in, sell the gas on the international market and export their profits.

Even the Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey, has conceded that unconventional gas is not likely to reduce energy bills in the UK, any more than scrapping “green taxes” will do.

The “big six” energy companies are interested only in profit; efficiency has nothing to do with it.

Their weasel words of complaint about green taxes are a smokescreen to hide their real intention of destroying any hope of an indigenous energy industry based on renewables in order to keep the UK hooked on dirty, damaging, unsustainable fossil fuels.




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