Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Green But Cold

After a few years you'll get used to it. Probably.

Mrs T returned from Sainsburys waving a 5p fuel token. True, she'd had to top up the shopping to fifty quid to qualify, but no matter: with diesel back to 106p a litre, every little bit helps.

Except of course, half the value of the fuel token has been immediately negated by Labour's latest increase in fuel duty: 2p a litre plus VAT equals 2.3p. Plus a further c2.5p when VAT goes back up to 17.5% at year end. Tax now comprises over 70p a litre.

Ah yes, but as Tyler's eco relations were telling him recently, we have to save the planet. We have no choice, and if you think otherwise you must be an idiot. You should stop moaning about fuel tax and just get rid of your gas guzzler.

Unfortunately, fuel tax is not the only cost being inflicted on us by our climate camping eco-hippies.

Over the weekend we got confirmation that those eco lightbulbs "are not as bright as their traditional counterparts and claims about the amount of light they produce are "exaggerated" (HTP Peter T):

"...under normal household conditions, using a single lamp to light a room, an 11W low-energy CFL produced only 58 per cent of the illumination of an "equivalent" 60W bulb – even after a 10-minute "warm-up".

On a website intended to answer consumers' questions about the switch to energy saving bulbs, the European Commission states: "Currently, exaggerated claims are often made on the packaging about the light output of compact fluorescent lamps."

Brilliant. Because it's the EU themselves who have imposed the sales ban on traditional bulbs, forcing us to use those ugly industrial-style compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) whether we like it or not.

But the most serious cost of the commissariat's green policies is the one we will be facing from the middle of the next decade. That's when the closure of our traditional and reliable power stations (also imposed by the EU) really begins to bite on the availability of electricity. As the Telegraph reports this morning:

"Demand for power from homes and businesses will exceed supply from the national grid within eight years, according to official figures.

The shortage of supplies will hit the equivalent of many as 16 million families for at least one hour during the year, it is forecast. Not since the early 1970s when the three-day week was introduced to preserve coal has Britain faced the prospect of reationing energy use.

The gap between Britain’s energy needs and demand throws fresh doubt on the Government’s assertion that renewable energy can make up for dwindling nuclear and coal capabilities."

The official figures are taken from the government’s Low Carbon Transition Plan, and here's their chart showing the projected energy gap (Expected Energy Unserved):

To put these figures in perspective, the 2025 shortfall of 7000 megawatt hours per year (itself based on highly optimistic assumptions) "is the equivalent to an hour-long power cut for half of Britain". Like the sound of that?

The thing about all these green measures is that they are not costless. The ludicrously spun Stern Report (see previous blogs here and here) tried to convince us the costs would be small, but as we can already see, in reality they will be very large.

We face higher fuel bills, dimmer lights, and f-f-freezing winters.



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