Electricity bills ‘set to soar for next 20 years’

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BUSINESSES and households across Europe are likely to suffer jumps in their electricity bills for at least the next 20 years to pay for pricey renewable energy infrastructure, according to a leaked report from the European Commission.

It claimed that average electricity prices would rise “strongly up to 2020-2030”, no matter what the energy mix, while the highest prices would occur after 2030 if renewable power sources make up the lion’s share of the production of energy.

Average prices would spiral by as much as 100 per cent by 2050 if a high amount of renewable energy is used – as is expected to happen in Scotland, where First Minister Alex Salmond has pledged to lead the way in the development of wind, wave and tidal power.

The report, which examines how fossil fuels can be replaced with cleaner energy sources, maps five different scenarios to replace coal and gas, which make up more than half the electricity generation across the whole of the EU.

Prices would rise by just 43 per cent if more nuclear power is used – which has already been ruled out north of the Border – as well as carbon capture techniques.

But Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Evidence shows that more renewables will protect us from massive increases in gas prices and ultimately keep costs down for consumers.”

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