We have much to thank the Global Warming Policy Forum for. Who else is keeping a close, critical and sceptical eye on the EU’s and UK’s energy policy?
Harry Wilkinson has already drawn our attention to Dieter Helm’s devastating critique of the cost of the UK energy policy and Business and energy Secretary Greg Clark’s complacent response about the high energy prices we suffer as a result.
The government’s approach, Professor Helm argued, would ‘continue the unnecessary high costs of the British energy system, and as a result perpetuate fuel poverty, weaken industrial competitiveness, and undermine public support for decarbonisation’.
With our domestic and industrial electricity prices already substantially above those in the G20 (EU domestic prices are more than double those in the G20 and industrial prices approximately 50 per cent higher), I can’t help but think he is right.
Which made the publication of an EU Commission study of the effect of climate and other policies on international competitiveness all the more welcome. Or it would have been if they had got it right. Fortunately for us, Dr John Constable, the GWPF’s energy editor, was on hand to read it. And he immediately spotted a significant error.
It claimed that annual levies on UK consumers in 2016 for subsidies to renewable electricity were €1.57billion. A figure that was not just wrong but very wrong. The correct figure, Dr Constable pointed out, is closer to €7billion.
The EU Commission’s consultants have now acknowledged their mistake, agreeing that Dr Constable is correct and most importantly ‘that the largest part of the other subsidies was from the Renewables Obligation’. Readers will be happy to hear that the figures are being corrected and can expect a revised report online soon.
We can only hope it will point out the consequences that this significantly revised figure has regarding calculations of Renewable Energy support costs for electricity consumers.