The real cost of electrifying heat- look at the big picture

15th Oct 2018

 

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I took offence to the heat policy paper produced by Friends of the Earth (we also had a bit of a Twitter spat too, which was enlightening). Let me share with you some of the contents (adult content warning).

I asked, who was going to foot the bill for their policy ideas. This was their reply:-

“Our policy position also says households should get capital grant. Should be funded by profiteering energy cos who are causing climate change.”

Now you’ve stopped choking, focus on their numbers. (I actually believe they seriously underestimate the true costs, but let’s go with it for illustrative purposes)

They believe all 24 million homes on gas should switch to heat pumps – they claim a cost of £9000 a property – I’ll do the maths for you - £216 billion. I’m assuming they’ll not ask the GDNs for any money given that FoE would have put them out of business!

But there’s more. FoE estimate that bills will rise by £136 a year too – for 24 million households, that’s an extra £3.25 billion a year (if the switch took place tomorrow, that’s another £104 billion that consumers will have to fork out by 2050).

Now carbon emissions are a real threat to our global climate. Some communities will suffer severe consequences if we don’t tackle the problem. But, and I know I’ve raised this before, if I had to spend £320 billion reducing emissions from a tiny fraction of 1 per cent of the world’s total problem, I might be able to spend it a better way.

Helping Nepal develop its hydro-electricity potential, enabling one of the poorest countries in the world to have secure low carbon energy, would be a massive help in its development. Enabling it to sell that power to neighbouring India, reducing their appetite for coal, again a game-changer. All this bringing greater carbon reductions; at a lower cost whilst positively helping a low income country develop. Now that is a prize worthy of a global campaign. Let’s look at the bigger picture.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO