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UK bosses blackmail government against renewables policy

by Jerome a Paris Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 09:30:42 AM EST

UK faces job losses as businesses threaten to flee abroad to escape green energy levies

Sir Roger Carr warns in an interview that the Coalition must give "some sort of support" over rising energy costs to UK manufacturers or else risk seeing businesses relocate abroad with the consequential loss of jobs.

"Not every country in the world has the same commitment to climate change [as the UK] and therefore you may feel commercially disadvantaged," Sir Roger says, adding: "That gives you cause for thought as to where you want to invest."

His comments – ahead of a CBI energy conference on Tuesday – come amid growing concern over the cost of renewable energy subsidies and so-called 'green stealth taxes'.

The article references yet another forthcoming book (unorigially called the "Green Mirage") by an astroturfer lobbyist (from the Orwellian-sounding anti-wind Renewable Energy Foundation) which makes claims of costs in the hundred billion pound range for the UK renewable energy policies between now and 2030; it follows on the heels of other similar claims by other industrialists (see for instance 'EU climate policies are driving smelters out of Europe') and a broader ongoing assault against Germany's parallel efforts to move away from nuclear energy (as discussed on ET here or here)...

While somewhat understandable when coming from energy-intensive sectors like metallurgy (but shouldn't the solution be to tax imports of metals from countries that do not include the cost of carbon in the price of their energy?) or from the incumbent utilities (which find renewables hard work), it appears strangely misguided from the CBI and other similar organisations. Their complaint about price increases is especially strange as the main effects of renewables on power prices are (i) to bring market prices down via the merit order effect and (ii) to bring predictability as renewable energy costs are known today for very long periods. Most businesses fear uncertainty, and here they have a wonderful source of certainty and stability for the very long term, something that should help investment rather than hinder it!

One has to wonder if such campaigns against renewable energy do not hide less honorable intentions (such as fossil fuel or nuclear industries seeking special treatment)... but such de facto blackmail should not be tolerated by any government - and in this case should be laughed away, as the number of jobs created by the renewable energy should easily match and overtake those lost in energy-intensive (and labor-poor) industries...


U.K. Renewable Power May Increase Tenfold by 2030, Study Says

Renewable energy in the U.K. may increase tenfold by 2030 if the country can improve its power grids and provide training to the workforce, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.

Wind farms, solar panels and hydroelectricity could generate more than 197,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2020 and 424,000 gigawatt-hours in 2030, compared with 50,000 gigawatt-hours last year, according to a study posted today on the agency's website. The U.K. produced a total of 354,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity from all sources in 2009, the most recent year of data.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 09:37:24 AM EST
The CBI is not an organisation representing industrial interests, it's a shareholders and CEO's club where the main objective is to push the financier's agenda as hard as possible.

ps It ain't blackmail when they're telling the government to do what it really wants. The UK is completely trapped by the now old-fashioned US republican paradigm that govt exists to smooth the path for industry and then get out the way. The possibility that govt responsibility might be managing the country on behalf of the totality of the citizenry is rendered laughable

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 10:09:44 AM EST

The CBI is not an organisation representing industrial interests, it's a shareholders and CEO's club where the main objective is to push the financier's agenda as hard as possible.

That explains a lot - the only players which like price uncertainty are financial players - they can offer (expensive) hedging, play on the commodity markets and profit from endless mergers and acquisitions as utility players consolidate, are broken up by regulators, and reconsolidate in an endless dance.

And of course, the financial world craves the short term profit which only old amortised coal or nukes and new gas-fired power plants deliver with certainty

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 11:06:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The origin of heavy industry attitudes, as you point out, is that stability is always preferable, and encourages longer-term investment. The ideological environment is even irrelevant - as long as the economy (and also the surrounding society) is stable.

What is not preferred is radical change, especially when it occurs in the middle of one of the long cycles of industrial investment. I don't believe there are dishonorable intentions, and - at least in Finland - the multiple advantages and benefits of the renewable energy sector, cleantech, and the other engineering innovations of sustainability are well known, understood and accepted. They are also politically understood - across the parties.

Personal change is always stressful, whether experienced as positive or negative. I'm not sure that corporations are any different.

I agree that if we are going to get anywhere at all there has to be an EU agreement on taxing the carbon component of imports. It's not trade protection, it's life protection. And the EU is best placed to be a forerunner - which some region or large country must be, otherwise nothing is going to change until it is too late.

Building a sustainable energy production infrastructure is going to be painful, but it will be worth it. That is the honest message.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 10:33:08 AM EST
European Tribune - Community, Politics & Progress.
Business craves uncertainty

Shouldn't it be "fears"?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 10:50:26 AM EST
Ah, you beat me to it...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 10:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks - now corrected.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 11:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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