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The Rising Cost Of The Climate Change Act

May 11, 2016

By Paul Homewood 





A year ago, I looked at DECC’s energy projections, and came to the conclusion that by 2030 they would add at least £15.3 billion to electricity bills. It turns out that I was not far wrong.

Tucked away in the Committee on Climate Change’s detailed workings for the Fifth Carbon Budget, I found this table, showing the cost of generation in 2030 for the No CCS scenario. (Costs are at 2014 prices)



No CCS Option

Twh Cost Total Cost

£million/TWh £ million
Nuclear 63 89 5563
Onshore wind 47 80 3784
Offshore wind 91 140 12673
Carbon capture & Storage 0
Solar 17 100 1688
Tidal 2 168 379
Biomass 24 110 2645
Hydro 5 50 257
Gas CCGT 131 69 9039
TOTAL 380 95 36028

Current 380 50 19000

All CCGT at £50 380 50 19000


Just to recap, the CCC make projections for several scenarios, the main ones being:

  • High Nuclear
  • High Renewables
  • High CCS

All of these scenarios assume at least 4GW of CCS. Given that there is little prospect currently of commercially viable CCS being available in the next decade or so, the only realistic scenario we are given by the CCC is the “No CCS” one.

It is also the only scenario which is actually costed. Below is the capacity assumption for the No CCS scenario.



Nuclear 8
Onshore wind 20
Offshore wind 25
Carbon capture & storage 0
Solar 20
Tidal 5
Biomass 3
Hydro 2




As you can see, the cost of this scenario is £36028 million for 2030, compared to a “current” cost of £19000 million, based on £50/MWh. In other words, changing to the power mix suggested by the CCC will cost an extra £17 billion a year by 2030.

Currently, of course, the market price is well below £50/MWh, so the extra cost is potentially even greater.

Note as well that the cost of providing standby capacity is not included.

Although it is not specifically explained, I believe that the cost of CCGT of £69/MWh assumes an increase in the carbon price from the current £18/tonne to £42/tonne.

  1. David Richardson permalink
    May 11, 2016 4:55 pm

    “Note as well that the cost of providing standby capacity is not included.”

    Nor the cost of any new interconnects for the “renewables” I would guess?

    At what point does reality strike home with these idiots??

  2. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 11, 2016 5:57 pm

    So in midwinter in a rush hour at slack water during a windless chilly high we’d have 8+3+2 or 13GW of supply. Nothing from interconnectors, which would be looking for power to supply continental shortages.

    You cannot be serious.

    • Billy Liar permalink
      May 11, 2016 6:57 pm

      Getting 5GW of tidal by 2030 is pie in the sky.

      The lunatic Swansea Bay scheme will only generate the equivalent of 57MW continuously. (in reality it will sometimes generate more and 4 times a day, very little).

      Do DECC really think that about 100 Swansea Bay sized schemes will be built by 2030?

      It’s almost as stupid as thinking that 45GW of wind will appear by 2030 (that means an installed capacity of around 250GW – ~ 25,000 10MW windmills).

      … and by my rule of thumb for solar panels, 20GW of solar requires ~200GW of panels to be installed.

      All these figures are just fantastically ludicrous. Another 3 x HS2’s in the making.

      • Billy Liar permalink
        May 11, 2016 7:08 pm

        BTW, 200GW of installed solar = ~ 5% of the land area of England.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        May 11, 2016 7:41 pm

        I presume they’re assuming the Severn Barrage, which some have optimistically suggested could generate up to 8GW.

      • Joe Public permalink
        May 11, 2016 8:48 pm

        “The lunatic Swansea Bay scheme will only generate ……. and 4 times a day, very little.”

        You’re too generous – 4x a day as the tide turns, it’ll generate sweet FA.

        its proposers admit to only “14 hours of reliable generation every day”

  3. Broadlands permalink
    May 11, 2016 6:29 pm

    Zero carbon capture and storage? I thought “we” have been told/warned that we must capture at least 50 ppm CO2 in order to get us all back down to the target “safe” level of 350 ppm that we had in 1987. That’s three trillion metric tons. How to store all that “dry ice” safely, and forever? We are already two billion more “carbon feet” than we were in 1987 and we will continue to grow in numbers.

    Am I missing something here, never mind the cost?

  4. CheshireRed permalink
    May 11, 2016 7:53 pm

    Can someone just sack the entire cast of DECC, please? All of them.
    We need a Brexit vote, losing Cameron and Osborne, replaced by an AGW-realist PM and cabinet and the new broom can then set about sweeping clean.

  5. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 12, 2016 12:03 am

    What the scenario fails to mention is the assumed capacity of CCGT to fill in the missing bits. They do indicate how much annual generation is expected of each source (Fig 2.10)

    No CCS TWh/year Implied Utilisation Factor
    Nuclear 63….. 90%
    Onshore wind 47…..27%
    Offshore wind 91…..41.3%
    Carbon capture & Storage 0…. (78% in other scenarios)
    Solar 17…..9.6%
    Tidal 2…..?3.4% (generation figure appears to be in error – should be 11 and 25.7% as in other scenario with 5 GW of tidal)
    Biomass 24…..80%
    Hydro 5…..34%
    Gas CCGT 130…..implying say at least 25GW at an average 60% – but perhaps the figure should be 121 to offset the tidal error, as it is derived by subtraction from a desired total 379TWh of generation)
    Gas OCGT 1

  6. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 12, 2016 10:16 pm

    I should have thought this through properly. If they’re hoping to supply 380TWh/year, we’ll probably need more dispatchable capacity than today to meet peak demand – that probably means over 40GW of CCGT to add to the 13GW in the rest of their plan, even though its average utilisation will be under 35%. Of course, it would be far better to dispense with the renewables and boost the utilisation on the CCGT.

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