Delabole wind farm

Last night’s Panorama asked whether “the government’s ambitious renewable energy programme” was “driving up energy prices.” The answer, it claimed, using a tortuous analogy with a casino, was a resounding ‘Yes’– and it drew on a new report from KPMG to support its claims. The Sunday Times and Daily Mail had already trailed the report claiming that “scrapping wind farms in favour of nuclear and gas will save each of us £550”.

Thank you to the Guardian’s Damian Carrington, then, for stating the truth so clearly upfront in his blog: “In the last year wholesale prices put about £170 on gas bills alone, while support for renewables added £20 to combined bills.”

Panorama chose to tag a fleeting reference to the high price of gas on the end, almost as an afterthought. And conspicuous by their absence on a programme that purported to be about renewable energy were any mentions of onshore wind, solar or microgeneration – technologies which are all more advanced and cost-effective in the UK than offshore wind. Thanks in part to having received government support.

Nick Molho at WWF blogs in some really useful detail about some other key analytical mistakes the programme made – in particular its failure to compare lifecycle costs for different technologies. While RenewableUK makes similar arguments to rebut the KPMG report.

Meanwhile our friends over at the Carbon Brief called into question the validity of basing anything on KPMG’s report – which KPMG itself was saying wasn’t yet complete. Business Green says it’s not surprising everyone’s confused. In July KPMG published its preliminary report: “Rethinking the Unaffordable”. Now we’re waiting for a final version, “Thinking the Affordable”.

If you’d like to read a line-by-line rebuttal of the key arguments espoused by KPMG in the preliminary report, Good Energy’s James Lythgoe goes through it.

And if you feel minded to complain to the BBC about an unbalanced and misleading report, you can do so here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

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