EU + windpower = rising bills
Electricity users pay over £1 billion a year to subsidise wind farms and other renewables. A government scheme, known as the Renewables Obligation, forces energy companies to fund green energy. Users pay higher bills both directly and indirectly, where industrial electricity users pass on their costs.
European companies will have to invest about a billion euros to meet the EU’s target of 20 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and replacing ageing infrastructure. Britain now has to source up to 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable power, mostly wind. Ofgem, the energy regulator, says the average annual bill in Britain could rise by 60 per cent, to £2,000, by 2016.
EU + biofuels = deforestation
A report from the Renewable Fuels Agency suggests that biofuel use may speed up the destruction of rainforests and cause more greenhouse gas emissions rather than less. The EU Biofuels Directive says an increasing proportion of biofuel must be added to diesel and petrol. Oil companies have exploited a loophole to avoid reporting the origin of almost half the biofuel supplied last year. They have used palm oil, one of the cheapest fuels, but probably the most environmentally damaging.
The IMF estimated that 20-30 per cent of the global food price spike in 2008 was due to 125 million tonnes of cereals diverted into biofuel production. The EU biofuel industry has already received 3.82 billion euros in incentives, subsidies and tax relief – and this could triple if the EU meets its 2020 target.