Renewables push will boost energy bills

LONDON (Reuters) - Meeting Britain’s renewable energy targets will add significantly to domestic energy bills on top of already steeply rising fuel prices, a report said on Monday.

A wind turbine is pictured at the Sierra del Rey mountain range, about 100km from Lisbon June 2, 2008. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

The report from tax advisory company Ernst & Young comes days after the government called for a 100 billion pound green revolution to get 15 percent of its energy -- equivalent to 40 percent of its electricity -- from renewables by 2020.

Britain currently gets barely four percent of its electricity from renewables, primarily wind power.

The report said the drive to carbon cutting renewables would add 20 percent in real terms to domestic energy bills by 2020, equivalent to 5.3 billion pounds or just over 200 pounds per household, on top of increases due to booming fuel costs.

But a YouGov survey conducted to coincide with the report also noted that most Britons baulked at the prospect of having to pay to combat climate change.

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The survey found that 67 percent of people said they would not be prepared to pay anything extra on their home energy bills to fight global warming.

“Customers face a triple whammy -- rising fuel and oil prices, the costs of climate change mitigation, and on top of both, the additional investment required to become more energy efficient,” said Ernsy & Young’s Simon Harvey.

“However, the average consumer does not appear to realise that this additional cost is going to hit their wallets.”

Confusingly the survey also found that while two-thirds of people said they were responsible for cutting their own carbon emissions a majority said a rise of 200 pounds in their fuel bills would not make them cut consumption.

“The challenge for government and the utilities companies is convincing the average UK consumer of the benefits of reducing energy consumption,” said Harvey. “Convincing them to undertake the series of measures that will be required to tackle climate change will require multiple changes in behaviour.”

Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; editing by Matt Falloon