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Higher electricity prices mean that electricity's total share of the energy consumption mix is depressed

Only where there would be an easy choice between electricity and burning stuff. But using electricity often requires significant and long-term investment, which will be avoided even if electricity is already the cheaper option on the long-term (think of rail electrification). Meanwhile, if you lower taxes, consumption is more likely to rise in ways that don't replace other energy consumption: leaving all the lights and computers on, more elaborate Christmas lights, bigger TVs and such.

If we are to use taxes as an incentive to further electrify energy consumption, then surely in the form of tax increases (for fossil fuels) rather than tax cuts (for electricity).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jul 4th, 2013 at 07:44:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By all means increase taxes on fossil fuels, but it is the price differential which matters. I doubt the extra electricity usage of a larger TV is a material consideration for most users (and the extra electricity it uses ends up heating the house a little anyway). I am always a bit amused by friends who insist on completely switching off a TV (to save on the tiny amount of power the standby light uses) but insist on keeping their (often poorly insulated)  water heating system on permanently.

However when deciding on a home heating system, the capital cost of a few plug in storage heaters is much less than an oil/gas/solid fuel central heating system - often with underfloor plumbing etc.) and the latter is generally much less efficient or targeted at when you need the heat most. I haven't done the sums recently, but even with night-rate electricity, the cost of an electrical heating system was always prohibitive when the critical house design and modification decisions were being made (as were heat pumps, solar panels, or a domestic wind turbine).

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 4th, 2013 at 08:07:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Solar/Eco heating is still highly specialised, so there are limited economies of scale at the consumer end.

But PVs and panel prices have been heading downwards steadily. If some of the subsidies were diverted from Dinosaur Energy to New Energy, it's likely there would be some impressive cost reductions fairly quickly.

As always, the real issues are political. Fossils have had power over governments for a long time, and are embedded in the financial and political establishment.

New Energy is challenging that - but still making good headway, regardless.

The change has to happen eventually. The real question is whether it happens smoothly, or whether fossils lemming themselves and everyone else off the cliff edge before the rest of us get a chance to pick up the pieces and start being sane about energy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 4th, 2013 at 08:27:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the extra electricity it uses ends up heating the house a little anyway

That's no benefit in the summer...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jul 4th, 2013 at 08:33:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you experienced an Irish summer? Even if I only want to achieve a 15 degree summer aminimum room temperature, I still have to turn the heating on sometimes, and that is with a relatively well insulated house...

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 4th, 2013 at 08:37:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah I've experienced an Irish summer... I visited in 2006. Can't understand why guys complain so much, the climate was fine.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jul 4th, 2013 at 09:20:10 AM EST
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