Renwable energy: Could it trigger a decline in living standards?

Green policy ‘will cost households £600 a year’

Green policy ‘will cost households £600 a year’

By Phoebe Cooke

Switching to alternative energy sources will cost the average household £600 a year by 2020, a leading industry analyst has announced.

A report for think tank Civitas suggests the conversion of power from fossil fuels into green energy by 2020 is economically unviable and could have long-term negatives far outweighing the supposed benefits.

"Shifting to current renewables for the bulk of our energy would result in a reversal of the long-run economic trend for the since the start of the industrial revolution," John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation.

"The fact is that renewable energy is still far from competitive with fossil fuels, and nowhere near as economically productive.

"More people would be working for lower wages in the energy sector, energy costs would rise, the economy would stagnate, and there would be a significant decline in the standard of living."

Under the EU's 2009 renewables directive, Britain's energy consumption from renewables needs to reach 15% by 2020.

According to Constable this is one of the largest proportional increases in the EU and will mean the UK carries 25% of the total bloc-wide cost of the directive.

The figure of £600 by 2020 is based on 26 million households and would stay that way for a decade, according to his figures.