Civitas study 2012
Britain’s energy policies are heavily influenced by the Climate Change Act (2008) and the EU’s Renewables Directive (2009). Under the Climate Change Act Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are to be cut by 34% by 2018-22 and by 80% by 2050 compared with the 1990 level. These are draconian cuts. Under the Renewables Directive Britain is committed to sourcing 15% of final energy consumption from renewables by 2020.
These commitments add to energy costs and undermine business competitiveness.
Britain’s zeal in cutting carbon emissions should be seen in a global context. Britain’s CO2 emissions are about 1.5% of the world total and even the EU27’s share is only 12% of the world total. No other major emitters have binding policies to cut back their emissions. China’s emissions are, for example, rising quickly.
Using estimates on the costs of electricity generation compiled by engineering consultants Mott MacDonald (MM):
Nuclear power and gas-fired CCGT are therefore the preferred technologies for generating reliable and affordable electricity. There is no economic case for wind-power.
Wind-power is also an inefficient way of cutting CO2 emissions, once allowance is made for the CO2 emissions involved in the construction of the turbines and the deployment of conventional back-up generation. Nuclear power and gas-fired CCGT, replacing coal-fired plant, are the preferred technologies for reducing CO2 emissions.
Wind-power is therefore expensive (chapter 2) and ineffective in cutting CO2 emissions. If it were not for the renewables targets set by the Renewables Directive, wind-power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity and/or cutting emissions. The renewables targets should be renegotiated with the EU.