What a stunning claim by Caroline Lucas

The renewables sector in Germany is significant, already providing 25% of electricity and resulting in lower market prices.

Hmm.

Domestic \’leccie in German costs 0.2598 per unit. In the UK it\’s 0.1547.

60% higher is an interesting definition of lower isn\’t it?

Second, is there really no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power? This is certainly what the nuclear industry wants us all to think. But analysis using the government\’s figures shows that we don\’t need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on.

Renewable energies, together with combined heat and power, energy efficiency, smart grids, demand management and interconnection, are the building blocks of an alternative energy future. The path we take is a matter of political choice, not technological inevitability.

Yes, it is a political choice. That\”demand management\” for example. What it really means is that everyone should use 50% less \’leccie than they do now. That really is ho9w Greenpeace gets their numbers to add up.

Whether we can power the nation on renewables isn\’t the correct question though. The correct question is how can we have the highest standard of living at the least cost: without frying the planet? And, hopefully, without shivering in our yurts. At which point renewables along won\’t do it, no, not with the current generation of technology.

And this is just bared faced cheek. Again.

Importantly, we also need to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry. Coal, oil and gas have enjoyed decades of support that the renewables sector can only dream of.

\”We\” don\’t subsidise fossil fuels. Johnny Foreigner does, yes, but we don\’t. So \”we\” don\’t need to stop doing so do we? And it\’s always interesting to see that us scrubbed up and posh white folk get to tell the dusky heathen what to do again. I\’d rather thought that colonialism was over these days myself.

25 comments on “What a stunning claim by Caroline Lucas

  1. ““We” don’t subsidise fossil fuels”
    Oh, come on now. That’s a downright lie. Taxes being a natural order, like the carbon cycle or something, the government distorts the process by giving a proportion back by way of lower rates on domestic fuels. Pure subsidy.

  2. In true Ritchie-world fashion I suspect “tax allowances” here are defined as “subsidy”. Which kind of ignores the 81%-odd marginal tax rate on some North Sea oil fields, plus VAT and duty on fuel and power paid by the consumer. Subsidy my fat bottom.

  3. In the interest of concern about numeracy, Tim, it would have been better–closer to accurate– to have characterized the German rate as 69% (rather than 60%) higher than that in UK.

  4. Ok. One single aspect of the whole green energy thing. Demand management. This will require every single house to have a smart meter. But the smart meter won’t do much on it’s own. At the very least all it can do is feed information back to the supplier faster so they can tell what individual house holds are doing. But these houses can still be “wasting” electricity. What really needs to be done is to re-wire houses so that the smart meter can turn off unimportant devices such as fridges for a few hours. But can you imagine every single house in the country being re-wired, let alone having a smart meter installed. The cost alone for the meters would be extortionate, and the re-wiring stratospheric plus all the fuel spent on driving the electricians around the country.

    Just that simple back of the envelope working out for the demand management shows that the greenies are living in cloud cuckoo land.

  5. @SML
    I’d guess they’d do the demand management from the other direction. Electrical connections can carry data. If the appliances are ‘smart’ they can talk to the supplier through he cables. Just means replacing all the appliances. Emphasis on just. No doubt there’ll be lower rate electric for those with smart appliances. A subsidy. That’s Green talk for ramping up the price for those not complying.

  6. BiS. Replacing all appliances is still a massive extortionate cost and will take years.

    And there will have to be overrides because machines can’t always work out how human life works. Sometimes the washing machine is really on an emergency wash and can’t be left to wait till a quiet time. Are people really going to only use the override for emergencies?

    And I bet there will be a black market in devices that jam the digital signals so that the appliance will work but still with the “subsidy”.

  7. “Interconnection”

    Don’t countries like Denmark only get away with Wind because they import a considerable amount from nuclear producers like France?

  8. SBML – But think of all the “green jobs” that will be created through rationing and micromanaging the energy consumption of every household in the country.

    Think of all the opportunities to spy on, impoverish and humiliate those reactionaries who foolishly imagine themselves to be free people living in a free society.

    Think of the moral improvement society will undergo when it submits to the artificial privations Lucas and her fellow watermelons have so cleverly planned for us.

  9. Go with Steve on that, SBML.

    ” Replacing all appliances is still a massive extortionate cost and will take years.”

    That’s a feature not a bug, to a Green.

  10. Don’t have a “smart” meter. They can cut you off individually and control what gadgets you can use by throtling back the power.
    In Greece they tried to use the threat of being cut off to force people to pay a surcharge to go against govt debt. Those who wouldn’t pay were cut off the old fashioned way –a bloke comes round (with costumed thugs to protect him from a well deserved beating) and cuts you off. However within an hour or two angry local leccies re-connected the states victims. They would have to cut off whole areas to darken individual non-payers from the other end so to speak.

    With smart meters tho’ your house and yours alone will be cut-off. Pay what the state demands or freeze in the dark. And not just theft demands. Several million people would have told ZaNuLab where to stuff their ID cards if they had not been booted out. Too many to jail–but with smarties–accept the ID card or freeze in the dark. Or accept whatever other shite the state wants to put on you or freeze in the dark.

    Time is coming also for a widespread strike against paying green taxes in poweer bills or extra-charges for not having a smart meter. Send in the bill payment less the calculated green taxes etc.

  11. Smart meters will be installed in all properties by 2020; or at least, that was the policy last time I checked. The information side is a Good Thing as far as I can see: I don’t know much about the things Dr Ecks suggests.

    But BiS and SBML are both over-thinking the control of appliances business. My gran (in a home and confined to a wheelchair) has this already: remote-controlled power sockets. You plug your gadget into this control device and then plug the device into the main. Presto, one easily controlled gadget.

    So all you actually need is one of these things (or something on the same kind of idea, maybe wirelessly controlled) for each major appliance: they’re not dirt cheap, but they’re a darn sight cheaper than new appliances or new wiring.

  12. Tin foil hat time on this blog today. Maybe we keep them for Sunday best.

    There’s no intrusive state required, you can install what the French call “délesteurs”. These work by shutting down non essential appliances (washing machines, dishwashers,etc) which can restart their cycle when you switch off the oven.

    Or you can opt for a lower kW (cheaper fixed rate) supply and just remember to wait to boil the kettle.

    Electricity generating plant and windmills are designed for peak demand so it’s common sense to try to smooth demand. We may already be doing so by accident: TV on demand will eliminate those famous demand spikes when everyone put the kettle on after Coronation St, for example.

  13. Imo the prospect of appliances being turned off remotely is… remote.(haha)

    The real demand management is simply that real time pricing of energy will have a real time effect on our bills. They want us watching our meters, or having some kind of automated switch off programme when consumption reaches a certain rate or unit cost. They won’t be switching our stuff off – we will be or our bills will rocket.

    It’ll be hell particularly for pre-pay meter customers as they cannot bank on unit prices. It will force customers to do the price management we currently expect and pay the energy companies to do.

  14. Unfortunately, smart appliances isn’t tinfoil hat territory. It’s pretty standard thinking amongst the same crowd that’s brought us the wind turbines. And we know, by experience, it doesn’t actually have to be practical to become reality. There’s also a way it can be done by the back door, as you might say.
    If the ‘smart’ meters can vary the cost of electricity to the consumer it’s possible to ramp up the cost during periods of high demand. That’ll encourage users to time shift to cheaper periods for energy use. That’s what happens now with cheap-off peak. It’ll work for a time, but as generation switches more & more to renewables it gets harder to time shift. If you’re one of the millions run the washing machine in the middle of the night to save dosh & the wind goes calm, the grid will be looking at a demand peak. Price goes up. Instead of costing 20p a unit it’s 50p or whatever. So either you sit watching the meter all night, get stung for a large bill thanks to a run of low winds in the early hours or opt for some way of smartening up your appliances. No doubt they’ll helpfully include a port on the meter to connect to. Probably you could smarten up legacy appliances with an adaptor, as mentioned above. But you can see them making them mandatory on new appliances, same as a lot of stuff has to be energy compliant already.
    The problem is, none of this is actually going to work. Unless electricity simply becomes unaffordable. With smart consumption, eventually there isn’t anywhere to time-shift to. There simply isn’t enough generating capacity to meet demand at any time.

  15. BIS>

    I think you’re rather misunderstanding how it would all work. Let’s take a fridge as an example.

    Currently, a fridge is optimised (or not) for efficiency from the power it uses. It turns the compressor on and off at pseudo-random times to meet the demand for cooling as it arises.

    If we want to optimise for using cheap-rate power, or being more flexible, then you build a refrigerator with a bigger cold reservoir. Maybe you store a load of cold overnight (when general demand is low) and use it all day. Maybe, though, with some form of smart-metering, the fridge simply has an extra quarter or half an hour of cold stored up, and runs as normal to keep it topped up. When general demand rises, the grid tells all the fridges in the country not to draw power for the compressor unless essential until more generators can be brought online.

  16. Yeah, let’s all buy more complex and expensive fridges so the power companies can save a few quid on building new power stations.

    The real result of ‘demand management’, as anyone should be able to figure out, will be the increasing use of generators as are commonplace in other third-world nations that can’t supply power when required. Eventually we’ll just disconnect from the grid completely when grid power becomes more expensive than fuel for the genny.

  17. @Dave
    Strange how you do what so many others do & pick refrigeration as an example. Refrigeration is a very small user of electricity. Typically, couple hundred watts intermittently.
    But you’re still talking about time shifting.
    “you build a refrigerator with a bigger cold reservoir. Maybe you store a load of cold overnight (when general demand is low( etc etc etc”
    So what happens when everyone does that? Where’s the low consumption part of the day where the fridge stores its cold?

  18. The key need for the customer is surely predictability. My parents have old-fashioned electric storage heating, so they use one of those tarrifs where leccy is a bit more expensive in the day and super-cheap at night. They also program the washing machine, dishwasher, and so on to run in the wee hours. Emergency cycles excluded of course.

    The problem with the smart stuff reacting to the wind blowing or the sun shining is that you have no forward price information.

    You can still see how this could work – householders can program the meters with their own personal pain threshold for price for each particular device. But I wonder how much of our leccy use really is time-insensitive. It would be challenging to be woken at 4:16 to be informed that it’s cheap enough to shower, or that you should wait 2 hours before cooking dinner. Not to mention what life in apartments will be like when every washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher comes on simultaneously in the middle of the night.

  19. Yes, “demand management” = blackouts.

    One of the classic aspects of communism – enforced and unnecessary shortages of necessities as an expression of power over people.

  20. The new Red-Green coalition government in 2015 should force every homeowner to install a treadmill and link it to a storage battery – then Caroline can replace all these terrible fossil-fuel power stations while reducing the cost to the NHS of the obesity epidemic.

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