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Electricity prices

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Is the Japanese Spike the post Fukushima effect?

May 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Japan has a 100-year tsunami and our prices are still higher!

May 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The increase seems to exactly coincide with the release of "an inconvenient truth".

May 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It would be very instructive to plot the 'emissions' for each as well on the same axes.

I'd make a small wager that we'd see the US declining while the EU stayed (at best) flat.

Surefire indication of the 'shale effect'. Declining prices and declining emissions at the same time.Something there, surely, for all sides of the debate to be pleased about.

It may be the case that geology or other factors mean that we can't replicate that effect here. But we will never know unles we try and it seems to me to be almost criminally negligent that our Government is not setting urgent policies to explore the possibilities.

Future generations will not bless Messrs Milliband, Huhne and Davey for their caution but instead look on in bewilderment at their inertia in the face of a potential big opportunity. And existing ones paying enormous bills to keep warm will curse the day those pollies ever took office.

Try shale in earnest now and then - with five or ten years real world experience under our belts - we can review once more.

But don't give up before we've even started.

May 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

And the flattening coincides with "climategate".

May 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

A picture paints a thousand words but the politicians would require every damned one of those words, with the i's correctly dotted and the t's correctly crossed before they would take any notice, let alone action.

So for any politicians reading this -

May 23, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commentertckev

I'm a Yank, so my thoughts on why the EU and UK energy prices are so incredibly high, relative to 2005, aren't as well grounded as for someone living in the UK.

That said, I assume that the great majority of the price increases have to do with climate policies, specifically wind machines. Had US entrepreneurs not brought to market the tidal wave of natural gas, we would have higher prices as well, but probably more in the 15% range.

My comment is, how could this happen?

I'm going to take a stab in the dark and wonder whether it is down to the differences in political systems. The US system is meant to make it very hard for the executive to do anything major in domestic policy without the assent of both houses of Congress, not easy to get because the Senators and Representatives answer to their constituencies more than to their party. Our system has many failings, the most egregious of which is the huge amounts of money that is raised from firms what won't give money for your campaign without having a good feeling that it will be worth their while, but that is another subject. So I'm not saying one system is better than another. But perhaps, in retrospect, one positive attribute of our system might be that it would have been impossible for the executive branch to impose the sweeping changes in electricity generation policies and hence electricity prices that has occurred in the UK.

May 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Apparently, the EU has got the message...

May 23, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

John - we are governed by the EU.

May 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I can't see British politicians going after shale gas with the same enthusiasm they have for gay marriage.

May 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

your stab is well-directed. The executive ( EU ) is answerable to nobody. The local executive (current UK government) treats its contstituences with contempt.

May 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterVftS

So what natural coal, gas and oil reserves does Japan have?
More or less than the UK/Europe?

On the basis of the above graph- more.

Anyone take a guess at reality?

EM your valuable insight is needed here :-)

May 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

When the climate change bubble pops, it is going to take wide swathes of related parasitism down with it.

Every 'progressive' organisation that takes taxpayer money to lobby the government to give it even more taxpayer money is going to be steamrollered. (Friends of the Earth, WWF and hundreds more).

Probably, many of those 'environmental compliance', 'diversity awareness', and similar positions in government itself will be culled as a reaction to general public disgust at the sheer waste of money.

This is about much more than how many tenths of a degree warmer the earth will be in 2050.

May 23, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Spotted this today:

May 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

What's the source for that Bish? (I can see that it's 'European Commission', but any further info? I'd like to send that to my MP).

May 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Editorial aside. Why if no comment is required is the post made so much more powerful by the phrase "No comment required"? :)

It is about the most powerful post on the politics and economics I've seen anywhere. And thanks JamesG for suggesting the pivot points being Inconvenient (and boy, now we see how much) and Climategate.

May 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Don Keillor @ 3:12pm

Japan is something like 16% self-sufficient in energy according to the Energy Information Administration of the US DoE so the answer to your question is "very considerably less".

May 23, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

Those figures are national averages. In the Northeastern US where I live, my electricity bill has increased [a lot!] for several years. Now, this has nothing to do with National Grid (yes, the UK company) having purchased the regional grid, building a massive wind farm, or stating it will soon close the nuclear plants under its control. Right?

May 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn A

You can see why ordinary Spaniards and Germans are pilfering forestry for felled logs to heat their homes. The age of heat or eat, another green revolution ...


May 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

This is just bluster and Denier-produced lies. Everyone knows renewables are the cheapest form of electricity ever invented. They must be - Britains world class resources of wind and solar are completely free. Cobbling together some botch-job of a graph (probably paid for by Big Oil) just isn't scientific. /

May 23, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

And they wonder why the EU's and our economies are so sluggish.

May 23, 2013 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered Commentermiket

I hope some enterprising journalist takes that graph and connects it irrefutably to the large uptick in deaths by freezing.

People need to know how dangerous renewables and skyrocketing energy prices are.

May 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

There are a number of reports around (eg GWPF) about the apparent volte face by the comission. The buzz-phrase now is to see energy policy through the prism of cost-competitiveness rather than purely environmental parameters.
The graph only shows power prices. My guess is that a comparison of overall energy costs would look even worse as gas is approx 4 times costlier in Europe and coal is cheaper in the US as well.

The American gas industry is moving very fast to develop LNG export facilities. That could set an economic barrier for European shale - it will have to be cheaper than US prices which are around $4 per MMBTU plus the cost of liquefaction, shipping and re-gassing which adds approx $3. So it looks as if local gas will have to come in at $7, or less, to compete .
If, as some analysts predict, this triggers a price war between LNG and the Russian pipelines, including the breaking of the historic oil link, we might see even lower figures.
The next few years will be pretty interesting!

May 23, 2013 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

Japan is something like 16% self-sufficient in energy according to the Energy Information Administration of the US DoE so the answer to your question is "very considerably less".
May 23, 2013 at 3:47 PM David Chappell

Presumably the 16% is non-nuke.

According to IAEA Nuclear Share of Electricity Generation, in 2012 Japan's nuclear electric energy in 2012 was 2.1% of its total.

May 23, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

That chart seems mislabeled to me. It does not describe prices, but change in prices since 2005.

So a comment might have been appropriate. If someone has the numbers it would be interesting to compare prices per kWhr.

May 23, 2013 at 5:12 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

I hope some enterprising journalist................
May 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM theduke

Contradiction in terms?

May 23, 2013 at 5:13 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"Presumably the 16% is non-nuke."

Most of it is hydro.

May 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSelgovae

Comparatively speaking, the Japanese islands are resource poor, especially in fossil fuels - although they have some oil and of course exploit it.

Now they look for other alternatives to nuclear:

Japan announced Tuesday that researchers had succesfully produced natural gas from offshore methane hydrates, a breakthrough with potentially explosive consequences for both global energy markets and the effort to tackle climate change.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry announced that a team aboard a drilling ship pearched above the Eastern Nankai Trough had extracted the gas from hydrates trapped 1,000 feet below the sea floor surface. Methane hydrates, also known as clathrates, are deposits of natural gas trapped within the crystaline structure of frozen water, leading some to refer to hydrates as "fire ice."


May 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.


don't worry, barmists such as Jim Bouldin would call your concerns "crocodile tears".

May 23, 2013 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

No comment required, but perhaps better choices from voters.

May 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobL

A link to the original would be much appreciated.

May 23, 2013 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

It would be interesting to take the x axis right back to Kyoto.

May 23, 2013 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddieo

There is a parliament report on energy prices written by Paul Bolton​SN04153.pdf

which has a few interesting graphs

May 23, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

And Osborne's Carbon Tax has yet to bite.

May 23, 2013 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Mills


That page seems to mysteriously disspeared: This is what I got
Page cannot be found
The page you are trying to access is not available.

We have recently updated the Parliament UK website and as a result the location of some content has changed. Please return to the homepage to navigate through to our main content sections.

If you are still having difficulty finding the page or document you need, please contact the Web Centre on giving full details on what you are looking for, along with the URL if possible.

You can also contact the team via our Contact Us form by selecting Web Centre from the dropdown menu.

© Parliamentary Copyright

That did not take long to happen !

May 23, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea


I think I found it from a link on this page
I am about to read it.

May 23, 2013 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

Had to smile when I saw His Grace's admonition "No comment required" juxtaposed with "35 comments".

Yes! I know, I know! It's now 36.

On a different note I can believe that the graph may be a game changer. Certainly it will save me using many words and still failing to "get through" to some of my friends.

May 23, 2013 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterEd Moran

In the recent interview by the head of SSE (Scotish & Southern Energy), he said that the cost of supply is 505 of the bill total. The other 50% is costs associated with green energy/reneawals and government policies such as subsidised home insulation and assistance for those in fuel poverty. If fuel proces were simply the cost of supply, bills could be halved and it would not be nececessary to roll out home insulation etc or assistance for growing numbers in fuel poverty.

Here in Spain, my electricity bill is very clear. 48% is the cost of supply, the other 52% represents green taxes, subsidies and taxes.

The UK needs to get on with shale.

Europe has needlessly got itself in a position where energy costs are twice as expensive as they need be. Indeed, if Europe were to once again pursue coal, the costs of supply would be even lower since that is the cheapest form of energy production.

May 23, 2013 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Sorry my fault

This should work as well

May 23, 2013 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

"And Osborne's Carbon Tax has yet to bite."

May 23, 2013 at 7:01 PM | Tom Mills
So too the additional costs associated with the closure of so many coal fired power stations, the costs of converting DRAX to biofuel, as more and more windfarms come on stream, the premium paid to the windfarm, the rolling out of smart meters etc.

There is much future expense to come.

May 23, 2013 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Significant, I’d say and all down to policies derived and implemented by the Muppets in Brussels…..
……..and slavishly followed by the Muppets in Westminster.
It would be laughable if it weren’t so disastrous for our competitiveness in world markets.
And hardly surprising that high-energy use companies are looking to get the hell out of here taking thousands, possibly millions, of jobs with them!
How anyone with an ounce of common sense could defend such activities is beyond belief.

May 23, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

May 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I suspect US prices would be the same as California. I believe that Boxer - pemosi want to get the prices raised in the rest of the US to ensure their survival. If it doesn't happen it seems to me that Cali will go bust. End of democrats.

May 23, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

What's really funny is that Oblarny has been trying to copy the EU and , as with everything else, he has singularly failed. Even the things he does most often, like lying, he is very good at.

May 23, 2013 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Regarding where the chart came from, I don't know if it's where His Grace found it, but it's in a May 21st FT article by Joshua Chaffin titled "High energy prices for industry occupy officials at EU summit" (at, paywalled).

Note that the article says that the chart plots electricity prices excluding taxes for industrial consumers. The first two paragraphs say:

"The portion of Wednesday’s EU summit that will be devoted to energy policy could be boiled down to a single, eye-popping chart that has been making the rounds in Brussels over the last week.

It tracks electricity prices – excluding taxes – for industry in the EU, US and Japan. From a common point in 2005, three lines diverge widely to reflect the fact that prices in Europe are now 37 per cent higher than those in the US, and almost 20 per cent higher than those in Japan."

May 23, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterGuy Leech

'the fact that prices in Europe are now 37 per cent higher than those in the US, and almost 20 per cent higher than those in Japan."'

The graph does not show that, it shows changes relative to original prices, reset to 100 in each case. It doesn't compare real prices and a paper that calls itself Financial Times shouldn't make such a daft statement.

May 23, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Bless you, Rhoda,
One cannot divine the price of anything from the chart above.

May 23, 2013 at 11:34 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Rhoda and jferguson are quite right and the FT journalist's comment is wrong, but to state the obvious, isn't the important point that the chart shows that electricity prices excluding tax charged to industrial consumers in Europe have risen by about 37% since 2005 while those in the US have fallen by about 5%?

May 24, 2013 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterGuy Leech

Our airport in nelson NZ has PV panels rated at 11 kW.

The small plane in the background is a Bombardier Q300. It has 2 engines each rated at 1700 kW. The plane can deploy 300 times the power of the solar panels. It can even do this at night.

I think the people at the airport know this but they went ahead with the PV panels to keep the greenies off their back.

May 24, 2013 at 2:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

His Grace got the graph from the GWPF daily update, which appears in a different format if you get it via a daily feed in your mailbox. WUWT reproduces it in this format, correctly attributing the graph to the FT’s Joshua Chaffin.
The big plus of the GWPF’s news is their sources in Europe, like Euractiv and EUObserver. It’s clear from yesterday’s items that there’s still some sanity in Brussels, even among MEPs. The stage is being set for a proper political debate in Europe, as happens in other normal democracies, with the left being forced to decide between sanity and its alliance with the Greens.

May 24, 2013 at 5:12 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Australia sells a lot of thermal coal to Japan. Cheers from a very damp and cool Sydney.

May 24, 2013 at 6:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTommo

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