Royal Bank of Scotland

UK consumers care about price – that much is clear from the Vestas Global Consumer Wind Study 2012. And well they might. Government figures for 2011 show that the annual average electricity bill rose by £36 to £453 from the previous year.

It’s a trend that is never likely to be reversed. Electricity prices started to rise sharply from 2004 when the UK became a net importer of natural gas. Around 28% of the UK’s electricity fleet is gas-fired. This connection between fossil fuel imports and high energy prices is not lost on consumers – 77.5% of GCWS respondents expressed very high or moderately high levels of concern about dependency on fossil fuels. Keep reading →

Fast forward to a vision of Britain in the year 2020: 30% of the UK’s electricity demand will produce zero carbon; utilities will be settling balance sheets to the satisfaction of shareholders; investors will be counting a decent return on investment; government ministers will be celebrating the success of their policies; consumers will be paying reasonable rates to power and light their homes and businesses.

If a week is a long time in politics, eight years is a very short cycle in the energy industry and without an acceleration of government action, the UK is at risk of failing on its target of sourcing 15% of its demand from renewable sources. Every aspect of the dream scenario described above could be reversed. Keep reading →