Green energy has to be paid for by some means
My Week Something doesn't add up in the energy industry. Just as the Big Six suppliers are being hauled in by the Competition and Markets Authority to probe whether they are acting anti-competitively, the renewables lobby are celebrating a green revolution.
It is true the Office for National Statistics data showing that a 43 per cent rise last year in the amount of electricity produced from wind, solar and hydro is something to celebrate. But it would be stretching things to suggest that keeping the lights on in Britain can be achieved without nuclear, gas and even some coal as part of the mix.
What has failed to be acknowledged by politicians and consumer champions stung by higher bills is that this revolution would not have begun were it not for all the environmental levies that Centrica, E.ON and others have been forced to charge customers for.
While the main energy providers have unsurprisingly been terrible at telling the complicated story of the link between wholesale and retail prices, they really should have done better on renewables. Can the consumer applauding a clean, green future for the country not see that it is being provided by the very companies they are encouraged to hate for hiking bills?
Wind power will be blowing for decades to come. The Crown Estate's annual report this week confirmed that shopping on Regent Street is still buoyant. But the Queen's property firm is also landlord to the energy companies developing offshore wind capacity.
Licensing profits were up 46 per cent last year to £15m and there are plans to increase generating capacity by 250 per cent by 2020. If only the Big Six could win a similar royal seal of approval.
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