Fuel Poverty: E.U. Climate Targets are driving up the price of energy

Posted: February 3, 2013 by tallbloke in Energy, Legal, Politics, wind

By UKIP Energy Spokesman Roger Helmer:

NowindThe aggressive targets for renewable energy contained in the EU’s climate and energy package are forcing households and pensioners into fuel poverty and damaging industry.

Concerned citizens from across the European Union are calling for lower energy prices, and for the suspension of the EU’s climate and energy package, which mandates aggressive targets for expensive renewables. They are using a mechanism called the European Citizens’ Initiative, created under the Lisbon Treaty, to set out their demands. This requires the collection of a million signatures from across the EU by November 2013, including 54,000 from the UK.

If successful, the European Commission will have to respond to the initiative, and hearings will be conducted in the European Parliament. The initiative will not force the commission to comply, but it will hugely raise the profile of the issue, and put pressure on the EU institutions for a rational and affordable energy policy.

In the UK, EU targets will require 30 per cent of energy generation from renewables, mainly wind, by 2020, potentially adding £150 to £200 a year to household bills. The idea for the initiative started out in Poland, which is 90 per cent dependent on coal for electricity, and is impacted even more severely than the UK by the EU’s ultra-high-cost approach. The huge costs of the programme in the UK are largely the result of dependence on wind farms. These are expensive to start with. Then they require conventional back-up, greatly increasing costs. And they also require massive new investment in the grid to cope with distributed and intermittent generation.

The initiative has the support of a number of MEPs, including Scottish Conservative Struan Stevenson, Polish MEP Jacek Kurski of Solidarna Polska and myself. As Kurski has said: “Most of us understand how important it is to stop the harmful EU climate policy wasting billions of euros on ineffective unilateral climate policy in the middle of a worldwide economic crisis. This petition allows citizens a voice to demand the EU stop its harmful policies and demand cheaper energy.”

The EU’s climate and energy package, with its very aggressive targets for renewable energy, is driving up energy costs. It is forcing millions of households and pensioners into fuel poverty. It is undermining industrial competitiveness in the UK and Europe, and driving energy-intensive businesses, with their jobs and investment, out of the EU altogether. But it will have little or no effect on the environment, since the EU accounts for only around 13 per cent of CO2 emissions. Meantime around the world there are some 1,200 new coal-fired power stations in the pipeline.

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  1. mitigatedsceptic says:

    Absolutely correct but we do need a link!
    http://www.affordable-energy.eu/ to vote but
    The online voting system https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/ECI-2012-000010/public/index.do seems not to have been activated properly!

    [Reply] Good spot. I’ve tweeted Roger Helmer to fix it.

  2. Roger Andrews says:

    “The EU’s climate and energy package, with its very aggressive targets for renewable energy, is driving up energy costs.” It drives down consumption at the same time. The graph below shows how domestic electricity consumption in Denmark drops whenever more wind power comes on line. Clearly the less affluent Danes can’t afford the stuff:

    And what happens if Denmark succeeds in achieving its goal of 50% wind generation by 2020? The less affluent Danes will begin to freeze in the dark.

  3. Berényi Péter says:

    For the record: The EU climate and energy package

    I can’t see a link to it at the Affordable Energy Initiative site, which is unfortunate.

    The very existence of a DG CLIMA (Directorate-General for Climate Action) is mind boggling. And who would have thought there was a position like Commissioner for Climate Action? See Connie Hedegaard, a journalist(!).

    I wonder what’s her annual salary is. What is the annual budget of the Commissioner’s office? Of the Directorate-General? Of course there is no information on such minor details on the EU sites. Transparency rulez.

    This top down design procedure of a Unified Europe has to be stopped immediately, replaced by a bottom up approach, should the need arise among the citizenry. But, to that end, we’d need a chance to form European public opinion instead of fragmented national ones first. Which is impossible with no common language, no common media, no common fora, no nothing. However, without these devices we are heading right back to serfdom under an all powerful unelected bureaucracy.

    Not even an able one, at that. One of my firs memories about an European institution is from the beginning of the 1990s, not long after my country has got rid of soviet military occupation & the communist dictatorship. We were organizing a scientific conference (on speech processing & recognition). At that time the EU used to have an initiative to support scientific partnership among old member states and new democracies of the East (still a decade & a light year away from membership), one with a budget & a Secretariat in Brussels (Bruxelles). They were supposed to give some financial support to events like the one we were about to start. Therefore I have contacted the office and had the woman responsible for Eastern Europe on the phone, to ask her what options we had. Here comes the juicy part. Her first question was: Is there any university in Budapest?.

    OMG. She was too lazy to do her homework, even. Or have her office do it for her. She was asking me instead (in barely understandable English).

    I got so angry I was next to choking, but replied in a dangerously mild voice with all the manner I could collect: “Yes, there are some.”

    Subsequently I set to work with the phone book and assembled a full list of high level educational institutions in the city, with contact info & all and sent it to her by email. It was a long list.

    Anyway, they have agreed to give some financial support eventually, on one condition. They were to send a committee to Budapest to determine if circumstances were good enough to organize such a conference here. That’s what happened. Five persons arrived in suites, they have spent a splendid week at one of the best hotels in the city, visited the brand new Conference Center (complete with all the goodies of the time, including broad band Internet connection) of the Technical University once (took an hour, worst case), approved, otherwise were open to any treat unrelated to business. Budget of their trip took about half the money the Secretariat was willing to pay to support the conference (attended by folks from all over the world, not just Europe).

  4. oldbrew says:

    Roger Andrews says: ‘The less affluent Danes will begin to freeze in the dark.’

    Or they could do like increasing numbers of their German neighbours and get a wood burning stove and buy – or pinch – some wood.


  5. Berényi Péter says:

    Look at that! Organizational Chart of DG CLIMA. Insane.

  6. Roger Andrews says:

    Oldbrew: Wood is biomass. It’s a renewable energy source. It’s OK for the Germans to burn it. 🙂

  7. tallbloke says:

    Woodsmoke over Athens… If the E.U. hadn’t wasted 287bn propping up the carbon market, Greeks would have a fat loan and cleaner air…

  8. oldbrew says:

    Re wood, I was only pointing to the cost relative to utility company energy, not to any effects.

    The carbon market isn’t quite dead yet…


  9. tallbloke says:

    Oldbrew: remember the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy:

    Captain of Glgafrincham ‘B’ Ark: “Since we adopted the leaf as legal tender we have all become immensely rich. However we have run into a small inflation problem, with 6 medium sized deciduous forests having the purchasing power of one ships peanut. So we’ve decided to address this issue by burning down all the trees.”

    Ford Prefect: “You’re a bunch of absolute raving nutters!”

  10. mitigatedsceptic says:

    I want to vote – how do I do it?
    How can they hear the voice of the people if the citizen cannot place his (OK hers too0 vote?
    Do we have to storm the Bastille or something?

  11. michael hart says:

    “The carbon market isn’t quite dead yet…”
    Indeed. But it’s fun watching.

    I was given to believe that the proposed EU “fixes” required a unanimous vote of the member countries, hence the agreement of the awkward-squad (that’ll be us, then, primarily) and that this would not happen.

    The tone of the Bloomberg article appears to me to be consistent with the Realpolitik whereby Angela Merkel can say she is in favour of something at the EU level, while knowing that it cannot be delivered and that there is someone on hand to take the blame for it. In this respect, the UK plays a valuable rôle in the EU.

  12. tallbloke says:

    The witch bounces her dead cat…

  13. mitigatedsceptic says:

    but that gets you to https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/ECI-2012-000010/public/ where it says that the web site of the promoter is not yet up and running, Another links returns you to the Affordable Energy site again and round the loop you go!
    Carelessness or sabotage?

  14. Berényi Péter,

    Your restraint is admirable. I’d have asked to speak to her mother. 😉

  15. oldbrew says:

    TB: ‘However we have run into a small inflation problem, with 6 medium sized deciduous forests having the purchasing power of one ships peanut.’

    Shades of the 100 billion mark note (= £5), but that wasn’t fiction…


  16. tallbloke says:

    Centrica pulls out of project to build new UK nuclear plants and launches £500m share buy-back.
    The British Gas owner had an option to take a 20pc stake in an EDF-led project to build nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. It capped months of speculation to announce its withdrawal on Monday morning.

    “Since our initial investment, the anticipated project costs in new nuclear have increased and the construction timetable has extended by a number of years,” Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw said.

    “These factors, in particular the lengthening time frame for a return on the capital invested in a project of this scale, have led us to conclude that participation is not right for Centrica and our shareholders.”

    The company warned that while there had been “progress in a number of key project areas, particularly design and planning, there remains uncertainty about overall project costs and the construction schedule”.
    “In 2012 we invested over £2in securing supplies of energy for the UK and where we see attractive returns we will continue to invest in Britain’s energy future,” he said.
    Mr Laidlaw said he still believed nuclear had a valuable role to play in the UK’s energy mix, but investing in the new reactors would not be right for Centrica or its shareholders.
    Centrica said it would launch a £500m share repurchase programme “to return surplus capital to shareholders”, which would be conducted over the next 12 months.
    The move is likely to prove controversial at a time at which customers are struggling with rising energy bills.
    Centrica’s withdrawal from nuclear represents the exit of the final UK player in new nuclear development.
    EDF is understood to be in talks with China Guangdong Nuclear Corporation over replacing Centrica in the venture and buying part of EDF’s 80pc stake.
    But even if a replacement can be found Centrica’s parting shot over ongoing uncertainty around costs and timetable will be deeply unwelcome for both the Government and for EDF.

  17. oldbrew says:

    Prepare to add nuclear power stations to the Chinese imports list.