The last couple of weeks has brought two interesting, contrasting views on the UK energy market.
Firstly, we have the Siemens Gamesa CEO Andreas Nauen saying that we shouldn’t make wind energy any cheaper due to the problems that will cause in funding innovation.
Yes, supply chain and material issues mean costs have risen, but both Siemens Gamesa and Vestas have been able to pass those on to their customers. There’s less impact on them, but it does mean higher prices for the final users of the electricity.
Despite the reduction in subsidies around the world, wind energy isn’t a dwindling market.
In fact, the UK alone would have to build the equivalent of the world’s biggest wind farm every 10 weeks for the next 20 years to meet our net-zero targets. And let’s not forget the huge market in the United States, which has recently been granted enormous funding.
But while Siemens Gamesa says that wind energy costs shouldn’t come down, we have this BBC News story about how real-world people are struggling with energy prices.
In the UK, like many Western countries, we have a problem where hundreds of thousand of households have access to electricity but simply can’t afford it. This is known as fuel poverty.
The UK has a fuel cap to protect customers from firms making unfair profits, but the energy regulator Ofgem has said that legitimate costs must be passed on.
As a result, National Energy Action predicts that next year, there’s likely to be an increase of £550 per year to the bills of customers on a standard dual fuel tariff.
This will lead to more parents worrying about how they can keep their children warm and keep them healthy; more parents turning the heating off as soon as the kids go to school, and spending all day in a coat and blanket, to save money.
So Andreas, we disagree. We should strive to make energy as cheap as possible.
And while wind or solar are cheaper than coal, we should do everything in our power to install it in places where people have nothing but coal.
That’s a market of three billion people for you, Andreas. Now is it worth giving some attention to?
If it was cheap enough, we might have a chance of changing the world.