Fair Fuel APPG for UK Motorists and UK Hauliers August 2021 Page | 24 This spring and summer, low demand resulting from the Covid-19 lockdown has further exposed the fundamental inflexibility and weakness in the UK electricity system. Measures to address the risks arising from the presence of uncontrollable renewables generators at times of low load may cost as much as £700 million over the period April to August alone. In response, National Grid has invoked the possibility of compulsory and uncompensated disconnection for smaller generators and introduced a new scheme to encourage flexibility in the renewables sector, but these measures will save only £200 million, leaving a £500 million bill still to be paid. Even this is doubtful. Management costs over the 22–25 May Bank Holiday 2020 weekend amounted to over £50 million, including £18.9 million to reduce large-scale wind output, and up to £7 million to switch off smaller, ‘embedded’ wind and solar generators. It is likely that these costs will have to continue for some time after August. These measures are at least doubling the cost of supplying a unit of electrical energy to a consumer. Generators and suppliers are unable to quickly increase their prices to recover this cost and they have successfully lobbied Ofgem to defer the bill until 2021–2022. This will further increase prices paid by consumers, who are already burdened by £10 billion per year of renewables subsidies. Post-Covid, these costs are insupportable. In order to avoid prolonging and deepening the post-Covid recession, Government should immediately seek to reduce electricity system costs by suspending renewables support and instead should adopt a cost-minimisation policy focused on nuclear and on gas.” Why are the costs of going Net Zero being hidden from the public? The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) published a short study 24 of the emissions abatement costs revealed in the UK Energy White Paper, Powering Our Net Zero Future. GWPF shows that the UK Government has prepared a full estimate of the costs of decarbonising the electricity supply industry, but has only published fragments, amounting to about 10% of the total, and has buried them in an appendix to an annex to the White Paper. Furthermore, the Government’s estimates are critically sensitive to the cost of wind power, about which Government is unrealistically optimistic. An empirically grounded assessment of wind power costs suggest that the costs required to deliver Net Zero by 2050, with demanding interim milestone targets for 2030, will be extremely high, well in excess of £250/tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) at least five times the mainstream value for the social cost of carbon. Costs at this level imply a total annual abatement cost in 2050 of up to £80 billion a year. This would, almost certainly, make the electricity on which Net Zero depends to decarbonise heat and transport essentially unaffordable. Dr John Constable, GWPF energy editor, and author of the study, said: “The long-awaited Energy White Paper is long on graphic design and sales talk and very short on convincing economic reasoning. The public is being asked to take their flashy Net Zero plans on trust, but no sensible person will do so. The risks of getting this wrong are too great. BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) appears to be hiding something. Why?” Even from the limited information so far published by Government, it is clear that the costs are extremely high, many times higher than the harm done by carbon dioxide – the so-called “social cost of carbon”.