So… the big news was that I was invited to be in the audience of the live filming of The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, on Tuesday evening in Wapping. I had a plus 1 and everything, and Mr EverydayRadical and I were excited about going for pizza afterwards. Almost as excited about the pizza as about the whole TV thing, to be perfectly honest.
BUT – we couldn’t go, for various dull reasons that I’m not going to bore you with. I wrote half this post before that decision though, so I’ve adapted it to hopefully be somehow interesting reading anyway.
I thought that the programme was going to be a Brexit special, discussing how Brexit is likely to impact various aspects of people’s household finances. Having watched it, the programme actually had a much broader brush than that, but anyhow… I think it’s an open process to apply for tickets or submit questions to be in the audience, but I was put onto it by a cat sitting client who’s read the blog, specifically my Brexit post, and thought I might be interested (I know! It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!). So I got in touch with the researcher and discussed potential questions to put to Martin.
He’s written a really interesting article about some of the possible financial ramifications of Brexit. But I was wondering about the cross-over between the financial impact and the environmental impact. So I started to think about two things – energy costs and overseas travel. I’m going to share my thoughts about renewable energy in this post.
We’re being told that we are likely to see increased energy bills after we leave the EU, especially if it’s a no deal Brexit. This is because we import increasing amounts of electricity from Europe (currently 7%, on track to increase to 20% by 2025), and the falling pound is making our bills higher already. There were pre-referendum warnings about the impact of leaving the EU Internal Energy market, but, y’know, boring experts, yadayadayada. According to this article, there’s also a possibility that in the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK could face third-party costs to use the power lines which connect Britain to European power markets, which would raise the overall cost of the energy. So far, so predictable.
What I didn’t quite understand is the impact on renewable energy – somewhere in my memory I have this belief that the EU subsidises renewable energy, so Brexit could impact on the cost and availability of this. I am particularly interested in this as we have just switched to a 100% renewable tariff with the Green Energy Network – this is quite an interesting thing in itself, as the supplier can’t guarantee that the power that goes into your house via the National Grid is actually from a renewable source, as this is dependent on demand and supply at any given time. But the Green Energy Network guarantees that for every unit your household uses, they will buy the equivalent amount in renewable energy. Here’s some good stuff about how the energy market works.
So I’ve done a bit of research and I can’t find anything to say that the EU directly subsidises renewable energy generation. However, while in the EU we would have been bound by EU target to increase from just over 20% of our total energy production to 30% by 2020. My guess would be that after Brexit we won’t be bound by that target. My guess is right. Meanwhile, the UK has the biggest fossil fuel subsidies out of all the countries in the EU, according to the stats from 2016 at least, mentioned in this article.
So anyway. It’s all quite depressing really. I don’t think the current government are taking climate crisis seriously enough and I think the Brexit show is distracting everyone from the most important stuff.
So I may not have been to the Money Show, but my top tip for this week is – get onto uSwitch and look for a fixed term renewable energy tariff, now, to lock in a price before the recession hits and prices start to increase. Our switch should save us £15 a month and we’re voting with our feet in favour of renewable energy. It sometimes feels to me that our only real power is as consumers. The other power is being well-informed – this is a good long read about the current and future state of the UK power industry, some of it quite uplifting.
Anyway, back to BBC Parliament… posts coming soon about how we’ve done in September on the No Buy strategy, my new plan for meat eating (or not) and yet another post about dishwashing. I also kind of want to write a rant about health visitors, but maybe I need to start another blog for that.