2012-01-02

Why Doesn't The Taxpayers' Alliance Attack ALL Energy Subsidies?

I had a look at the Taxpayers' Alliance report Ending The Green Rip-Off. It seems to advocate removing subsidies for renewable energy. I agree, but at the same time the subsidies for all types of energy should be removed too. The report says:
it seems very reasonable to expect that scrapping the Emissions Trading Scheme and allowing other sources such as nuclear energy to fulfil the Renewables Obligation could cut electricity bills by 10 per cent or more
But says nothing about the subsidy that is given to nuclear power by making the taxpayer responsible for paying the cost of any nuclear incident above £140m. The recent Fukushima incident will cost Japanese taxpayers at least $13bn. Does the Taxpayers' Alliance think the tax payer should continue to subsidise nuclear power in this way?

Another energy subsidy that's ignored in the report is the taxpayer's subsidy of electricity generated from coal. A recent paper shows that:
Accounting for the many external costs over the life-cycle for coal derived electricity conservatively doubles to triples the price of coal per kWh of electricity generated.
These external costs are ultimately borne by the taxpayer. One of the external costs is the damage to human health caused by mercury emissions from coal fired power stations. Quoting from the same paper:
Direct costs of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants causing mental retardation and lost productivity in the form of IQ detriments were estimated by Trasande et al.22,23 to be $361.2 million and $1.625 billion, respectively, or 0.02¢/kWh and 0.1¢/kWh, respectively. Low-end estimates for these values are $43.7 million and $125 million, or 0.003¢/kWh and 0.007¢/kWh; high-end estimates
for these values are $3.3 billion and $8.1 billion, or 0.19¢/kWh and 0.48¢/kWh.
Again, the taxpayer has to bear these costs. Why doesn't the Taxpayers' Alliance speak out against this subsidy of coal?

I'll send this post to the Taxpayers Alliance, and I'll let you know their reply.

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