EU energy policy: World’s most expensive failure?

Romana Jordan MEP (centre) with her staff

Romana Jordan MEP (centre) with her staff

The EU has a climate and energy policy designed to deliver a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020, and an 80% reduction by 2050.  So it was very interesting to attend a presentation by Eurelectric, the association of the European electricity industry on Tuesday,  organised and hosted by my good friend Slovenian MEP Romana Jordan, where we were briefed by Eurelectric and by the EU’s official statistical body Eurostat  on “Power statistics and trends 2013”.

We heard that European electricity demand in 2012 was flat, after a 2% reduction in 2011 from 2010.  This is the result not of energy conservation or eficiency, but of the recession.  Meantime so much subsidy has been thrown at renewables that total generating capacity is increasing.  This contrasts, of course, with the UK situation where existing gas capacity has been mothballed because gas cannot compete with heavily subsidised renewables, and coal-fired power stations are closing.

But as Eurelectric puts it “The policy seems to have changed from “Renewables plus gas” to “Renewables plus coal”.  This results from the availability of cheap American coal, as the US switches from coal to cheap shale gas.  Germany, for example – über-green Germany – is building or refurbishing a couple of dozen coal plants.  And the effect on emissions?  “The increase in coal-fired generation meant that (in 2012) CO2 emissions did not fall … in 2013, emissions are expected to rise”.  Eurelectric add “Policy costs” (essentially green taxes and levies)  “… are growing three times faster than other price components and are now more than a quarter of average bills”.  They add that the raw cost of energy is now less than half the price, with the rest covering distribution, and taxes & levies.

So despite hundreds of billions of €uros thrown at the project, and a huge Europe-wide effort which has desecrated landscapes and the environment, we are failing in the primary objective of reducing CO2 emissions.  Has there ever been so much money spent with so little result?  What would the public do if they understood that so much of their money has been squandered on a fool’s quest?  If they understood that the main effect of green policies has been, not to reduce emissions, but to increase bills?  To undermine industrial competitiveness?  To force energy-intensive businesses to leave the EU, taking their jobs and their investment and their tax revenues with them?  To drive millions of households and pensioners into fuel poverty?

An amusing postscript (you have to laugh, or you’d cry): the EU has something called “European Globalisation Adjustment Fund”, which spends up to €500 million a year.  In theory this is a fund to help member states, and companies in member states, cope with the pressures of globalisation.  In fact, it seems simply a device to get the EU to defray the unemployment costs of various companies favoured by the Commission.  But each individual application (per project, not per unemployed worker) to the Fund requires approval in the parliament, so we see them going through with monotonous regularity.  Of course UKIP always votes against, but the proposals are always approved by a large majority.

Today, we had an application on behalf of a company called First Solar in Germany  (I suspect that the Chinese will be building last solar).  And another on behalf of wind farm manufacturer Vestas in Denmark. So to the long list of renewables subsidies, you can add the contribution from the Globalisation Fund when the renewables company gets into trouble (as usually seems to happen).

The EU’s climate and energy policy is quite possibly the most expensive failure the world has ever seen.  Yet they seem determined to press on regardless.  The 80% target for 2050 implies total industrial devastation.

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15 Responses to EU energy policy: World’s most expensive failure?

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    WUWT ( http://wattsupwiththat.com) today presents an open letter by Bob Tisdale to the financiers (VIs) of this series of upcoming scaremongering video in the US:

    Open Letter to the Executive Producers of YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY

    I hope it gets tangled up before being piped into our schools. It is rather lengthy and will not doubt be ignored by the addressees – as one would expect.

    Climate Models. Yet another way to fleece the poor.

    • Patriot says:

      As you say “fleece the poor” no mention ever made of the billionaire destroyers of the rain forests being made to pay, they are paving the way to making even more profits in the future at our expense now! Also a big boost to German industry.

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Without a doubt and underlined by this character at the EPA in USA. (via Bishop Hill and NBC News)

        The EPA’s highest-paid employee (John C. Beale) and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.

        That person was flagged up to the EPA management by auditors 2 years previously it appears. Suddenly EU accounts over many years comes to mind.

        Troughers USA !!

  2. Neil craig says:

    Financially most expensive failure but in lives the banning of DDT (app 80 million) and Mao’s Great Chinese Famine (15b million officially but estimated up to 40 mill) are worse.

    50% of Britain’s excess winter deaths (33,000 last year) are blamed on fuel poverty. Multiplying that by 8 for the whole EU and 20 years comes to 2.7 million.

    If we apply the same principle to the anti-nuclear movement over the last 40 years keeping up the price of electricity across the whole world the financial cost is certainly greater and the cost in lives may exceed Mao’s famine.

  3. barrymx5 says:

    We must keep reminding folk that the LibLabCon support this fiasco. Ukip has an absolute winner if we can make enough folk aware of the facts.

  4. Chris says:

    The European Parliament will look a lot different after the EU elections in May 2014.

  5. Adrian Hey says:

    An 80% reduction by 2050 seems pretty absurd, but nowhere near as bad as what many of our own MPs & peers seem to be aiming for, which last I heard was 100% “decarbonisation” by 2030. This is still official Labour party policy I think, and they seem like favourites to win the next GE (and I don’t think they mean 100% nuclear either).

    What utter lunacy! It simply beggars belief that anyone can be so stupid as to think that this is achievable with wind farms and solar panels. It all reflects very badly on our mainstream political parties that such morons can even be selected as parliamentary candidates, let alone become party leaders and potential cabinet ministers.

  6. Ian Forman says:

    On a more general point, Roger, is there a sort of blithe acceptance that CO2 is responsible for everything? Do we not see frequent unquestioned references almost everywhere to carbon emissions, footprints, decarbonisation and low-carbon, to quote but a few?
    There are very many sources, by no means just WUWT, for authority that CO2 is not the driver of climate or climate change. Has anyone ever seen proof that it is?
    Should we not make it an absolute priority to insist publicly that CO2 is completely innocent? It is our failure to do so that is at the root of ALL the energy problems, and it is costing us trillions, despoiling our landscape and will soon lead to real energy shortages.
    I have always believed that the (C)AGW scam would never have got started all those years ago, if it had been smothered at birth.

  7. DougS says:

    EU energy policy is bad, very bad, but it’s not in the same league as Ed Miliband’s 2008 Climate Change Act. And only three Tories voted against it!

    In the UK, we’re going to spend £732 bn, and for what? To possibly knock an unmeasurable one hundredth of a degree off global temperatures in 40 years time.

    When it comes to wasting money Ed’s way out in front!

    • Patriot says:

      I would think your` “and for what” comment could be, to support the German and other European countries economies by buying wind turbines etc. if they were made in the UK by our workers they would have been written off as useless years ago. Also the lethal energy saving bulbs made in the EU would have been condemned by health and safety years ago if they had been made here.

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