Last week, photographs of wind turbines were once again juxtaposed with headlines about rising energy prices. The cause on this occasion was no less pre-eminent a body than a Lords committee, comprising former chancellor Norman Lamont and other heavyweight peers. “To reduce carbon emissions, governments have subsidised renewables, passing on the cost to consumers in their electricity bills. The average domestic electricity bill was 58% higher in 2016 than it was in 2003,” the economic affairs committee said in its report on energy policy. Anyone reading it would have been forgiven for directing their anger at windfarms when increases in their energy bills land, as half of the big six energy suppliers are planning. Yet the peers’ report admits that “rising international prices for fossil fuels” were the main driver for energy bills going up over the period. Renewable energy subsidies on bills – the “green crap”, as former PM David Cameron reportedly called them – do add a cost. But it’s small, at 10% of an average dual-fuel bill, as the peers themselves note. The blame for the latest round of price rises announced by energy suppliers, big and small, does not lie primarily with wind turbines and solar panels. Energy regulator Ofgem was clear about that in front of MPs last week and in its analysis last month.
Observer 26th Feb 2017 read more »