This report by Civitas is very comprehensive:-
But to give you an idea here is the Executive summary:-
. Britain’s energy policies are heavily influenced by the Climate Change Act (2008) and the
EU’s Renewables Directive (2009). Under the Climate Change Act Greenhouse Gas (GHG)
emissions are to be cut by 34% by 2018-22 and by 80% by 2050 compared with the 1990
level. These are draconian cuts. Under the Renewables Directive Britain is committed to
sourcing 15% of final energy consumption from renewables by 2020. (Chapter 1)
. These commitments add to energy costs and undermine business competitiveness.
. Britain’s zeal in cutting carbon emissions should be seen in a global context. Britain’s CO2
emissions are about 1.5% of the world total and even the EU27’s share is only 12% of
the world total. No other major emitters have binding policies to cut back their
emissions. China’s emissions are, for example, rising quickly. (Chapter 1)
. Using estimates on the costs of electricity generation compiled by engineering
consultants Mott MacDonald (MM) (chapter 2):
o Excluding carbon costs, coal-fired power stations are the least expensive technology
for generating electricity for both near-term and medium-term projects.
o Including carbon costs, gas-fired power stations are the cheapest option for near-
term projects, but nuclear power is the least expensive in the medium-term. Other
things being equal this would suggest that investment should be concentrated in gas
and nuclear technologies. A mix of technologies is preferable for operational
reasons. Coal-fired power stations become relatively uneconomic, reflecting the
heavy carbon costs, especially in the medium-term.
o Onshore wind looks relatively competitive on the MM data. But MM exclude the
additional costs associated with wind-power. When allowance is made for these
additional costs, the technology ceases to be competitive for both near-term and
o Offshore wind (even before allowing for additional costs) and Carbon Capture and
Storage (CCS) technologies are inordinately expensive.
. Nuclear power and gas-fired CCGT are therefore the preferred technologies for
generating reliable and affordable electricity. There is no economic case for wind-power.
. Wind-power is also an inefficient way of cutting CO2 emissions, once allowance is made
for the CO2 emissions involved in the construction of the turbines and the deployment of
conventional back-up generation. Nuclear power and gas-fired CCGT, replacing coal-fired
plant, are the preferred technologies for reducing CO2 emissions. (Chapter 3)
. Wind-power is therefore expensive (chapter 2) and ineffective in cutting CO2 emissions
(chapter 3). If it were not for the renewables targets set by the Renewables Directive,
wind-power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating
electricity and/or cutting emissions. The renewables targets should be renegotiated with