Sunday, 12 February 2017

Price of Electricity and Renewables Revisited

Previous work by Willis Eschenbach and Euan Mearns showed the relationship between Electricity costs and per capita installed renewable capacity. A new European Commission report shows the increases in electricity prices since 2010. I put this on a graph alongside the increase in share of electricity from renewable sources [Figure 1].

Figure 1 : Increase in electricity prices 2010-2015 plotted alongside increase in share 
of renewables in electricity generation 2010-2014

So the UK went from renewables providing 7% of electricity generation in 2010 to 17% in 2014 resulting in almost a 50% increase in prices over the same period. Ireland is in the top five increases in electricity prices over this period. Denmark seems to be an outlier (although they started off from very high prices) but most countries who invested heavily in renewables saw a sharp rise in electricity prices. 

Something that struck me was the proliferation of PIIGS countries at the top of the graph. So I labelled the top government indebted countries on the same graph [Figure 2] :

Figure 2: Top 7 member states with highest Government debt as % of GDP 

Greece, Italy and Portugal are the top 3 indebted countries in the EU (Debt of general government, as a percentage of GDP). Most of the countries investing heavily in renewables are also running up the biggest fiscal deficits. They have put environmental sustainability above economic sustainability. However, surely the two are linked ? If capitalism is the driver of climate change then living beyond your means must be twice as bad.


1)  Monitoring progress towards the Energy Union objectives – key indicators - see Page 62

2)  Share of electricity from renewable sources in gross electricity consumption (%) - unfortunately this only goes up to 2014, whereas the prices in 1) goes up to 2015, so if a more recent report comes out I will update this blog. Still, Figure 1 is indicative of the electricity price/ RES-E trend.

3)  Risk Assessment of the EU Banking System - See Figure 1

1 comment:

  1. Of course the programme countries were told to liberalise, the great euphemism for handing over national resources to investment funds - funds that inevitably have traceable links to the great and the good.
    All the more reason for Ireland to pursue fiscal prudence and minimise the potential for future programmes arising from reckless public (and dare I say private?) spending.