Imagine if a newspaper printed the following :
If we invest enough money in our rugby pitches we will improve our soccer team
This claim is obviously and self-evidently false. However, the equivalent of this claim in energy terms was made in today's Irish Times :
A lot of the energy from renewables would come from the western fringes, where the national grid has been weakest, necessitating an investment of €3 billion to upgrade. (Against that, imported fuels cost more than €6 billion a year.)
This is suggesting that the investment in the grid upgrade is worthwhile because it will help reduce our fuel imports bill. But, according to the SEAI, 75% of our fuel bill comes from oil which makes up less than 1% of the fuel used in electricity generation. So that means that about € 4.5 billion of the € 6 billion fuel import bill has nothing whatsoever got to do with electricity generation.
So the €3 billion grid upgrade can only impact on circa € 1.5 billion of fuel imports, not €6 billion as suggested by the Irish Times.
Fuel Import Bill has risen
So what are we doing installing all these wind farms and interconnectors ? Well, part of the reason is to reduce our dependency on fuel imports :
Reducing our dependency on fossil fuel imports, ensuring investment in the networks and delivering investor certainty through predictable responsive regulatory and policy frameworks are key drivers for energy policy. In line with both EU and international energy policy direction, the development of renewable energy and sustained ambition in energy efficiency are cornerstones of this Government’s energy policy objectives - Previous Energy Minister, Pat Rabbitte 2012.
But what has actually happened ? Well, believe it or not, our fuel bill has actually risen from circa € 6 billion in 2011 to € 6.7 billion in 2013 :
But in the same period we installed almost 300MW of additional wind energy at a cost of around
€ 600 million (€2m per MW) or 0.6 of a billion euros. Just ask yourself - is this bang for your buck ?
To put the fuel bill in perspective, €6.7 billion is equal to the annual fuel bill for German airline, Lufthansa. Yet nobody is arguing that airline's should be reducing their fuel bills . Indeed, according to the Irish Times article, Air transport makes up about 15-16% of our fuel bill, slightly more than our reliance on fuel for private cars. Do you hear calls for airlines to begin making radical changes to cope with future uncertainties and "peak oil" ?
As Peter Hitchens, the English journalist said recently - if a principle given to support a policy is not applied universally, then there must be another reason behind a policy - or something to that effect. This is reminiscent of the quote by JP Morgan :
A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason. - J. P. Morgan
While we are on the subject of airlines and "peak oil", what are the oil reserves like at the moment ? Well, according to the International Energy Statistics, we are at a new high :
|Graph taken from peakoilbarrel.com http://peakoilbarrel.com/eia-cc-reportm-plus-jeanlaherrere/|
So what is the real reason for the current energy policy ? - well take a look at your
Do the Maths !
In the same Irish Times article above, Dick Ahlstrom, made the following claim :
The highest energy peak yet to occur on our national grid topped out at just over five billion watts of electricity (5GW). A single lake covering, say, two square kilometres had the potential to produce 100GW of electricity, more than we would use over 20 years.
Francis Clauson has contacted me to explain the simple maths error made here :