Sunak was right to avoid the term ‘windfall tax’ on his revised tax arrangements for the oil companies since it involves big tax breaks for oil and gas investments that will overshadow the small short-term increase in oil tax revenues that he announced. See E3G’s analysis of the oil and gas changes here. But this massive boost for oil and gas investments (which will bring tax relief for oil and gas investments to over 90 per cent) will only benefit China, and not the UK.
The Government has delayed the start of a new four year programme of the Government’s already minimal home energy conservation programme. This means that several tens of thousands of poor households will miss out on vital cost-saving measures. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), whose funding is small compared to the tax concessions handed to oil and gas companies, is a pale reflection of the scheme which operated under the last Labour Government. Insulation rates funded by ECO have fallen by over 90 per cent since Labour’s scheme ended in 2012 (see page 112 of last year’s report by the Committee on Climate Change).
Electricity suppliers are making people with solar panels on their roofs jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops before their electricity can start earning them money. This benefits the suppliers since timewasting allows them to keep receiving free electricity for longer.
For once I am moved to agree with big power companies and denounce the schemes for local energy pricing as a bad idea. This stupid idea has been dreamt up by the National Grid in a lazy effort to deal with the problem of balancing increasing quantities of renewable energy. It is stupid because it will both reduce the amount of solar and wind projects coming forward and make them much more expensive for the consumer.
Consumer bills could be slashed by an average of around £140 per household per year if renewables incentives were reformed to give renewable energy generators long term security for their returns. Now, this sounds like a fairytale ending that keeps everyone happy. Is it? Well, it’s for real except that the big energy companies won’t like it. That is because they would prefer to carry on siphoning off profits from the sky-high electricity wholesale prices that are inflating the income generated from renewable energy projects funded under the Renewables Obligation (RO).
These higher than necessary payments for renewable energy generation are artificially inflating what consumers have to pay in their electricity bills. The price cap set by OFGEM would be lower as a result of sensible reform of the RO payments and consumer bills would be less.
The RO funds around 30 per cent of the UK’s entire electricity supply
If the UK installed as much wind power per square km as Germany does now, then, in 2050, the UK could be generating around half the level of UK electricity consumed in 2020 solely from onshore wind. This is despite the fact that Germany has a much larger proportion of its land reserved for nature protection compared to the UK.
Rolls Royce’s so-called small modular reactor (SMR) is getting bigger, but is likely to have fewer special safety features compared to EDF’s increasingly pricey design for Hinkley C.
Please watch the Green Buildings webinar, held on March 16th by clicking here!
Hear about the campaign for mandatory solar panels and banning fossil fuel boilers in new builders. The speakers are first, Jonathan Porritt, longstanding green leader and founder of ‘Forum for the Future’; then Lucy Pedler a green building expert from the Green Register; Beccy Smart from the environmentally sensitive housing campaign; David Toke talking about the campaign and 100percentrenewableuk; and Charmian Larke talking about new buildings and energy poverty.
Sign the petition for mandatory solar panels on buildings and fossil fuels to be banned in new buildings. See the petition page here.
Please share the petition page link as widely as you can on social media. Please write to you MP asking for solar pv to be mandatory on all new buildings and for fossil fuel boilers to be banned in them.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by energy companies complaining that the consumer energy price cap is against free-market principles. That is because the price cap is an essential tool in making sure that the energy suppliers pass on savings from cheap renewable energy to consumers in the form of lower energy bills.
The Government is hiding the fact that, based on its own figures, Sizewell C could very well result in a huge increase in consumer bills, several times larger than it has so far been implied. This is because consumers will be expected to pay directly for what the Government’s own figures say is a high likelihood of extensive cost overruns. The Government will expose consumers to this risk in order to protect corporate investors from suffering the losses themselves – otherwise the Government will not get private investors. This is under the so-called Regulated Asset Base (RAB) method of funding Sizewell C.
Parliamentarians from the Liberal Democrats, Green Party and the Labour Party have backed the Green Buildings Campaign organised by 100percentrenewableuk. 100percentrenewableuk is campaigning for solar pv to be made mandatory on suitable new buildings and also that fossil fuel heating should be banned in them. Tim Farron, the ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats, and MP for Westmoreland and Lonsdale, is seeking to organise an Adjournment Debate on the subject in the House of Commons.
Decentralised energy resources (DER) consisting in large part of solar pv units and storage batteries and electric vehicles (EVs) sited in domestic or commercial properties are increasing in number and capacity. Yet the key energy think tanks are busily ignoring this phenomenon in favour centralized-only solutions for balancing fluctuating renewables. This criticism certainly applies to a much publicised report published recently by Aurora which, apart from a fleeting reference to smart charging for electric vehicles (EVs) appears to completely ignore DER, seemingly in favour of large-scale battery assets. In fact there will be, arguably is already, a very large and growing DER in existence which would be much cheaper to mobilise than a lot of the centralised battery assets.
The Green Buildings campaign, promoted by 100percentrenewableuk, is claiming that making 3kW of solar panels and heat pumps compulsory for new homes will increase the cost of a new house by no more than 4% (probably less) – that’s little more than half the annual increase in house prices! Fitting heat pumps and solar pv is, anyway, much cheaper than retrofitting them onto existing buildings.
Sign our petition for mandatory solar pv and banning of fossil fuel boilers in new buildings. Here!
The recent revelation that exports of natural gas from the UK have actually increased during the gas price crisis provides strong evidence that producing more natural gas from British sources does nothing to help protect British energy security. By contrast, sourcing energy from British-based renewable energy under fixed price long term contracts will dramatically reduce the bills consumers have to pay compared to reliance on fossil fuels.