The Cost of Going Green

Before I sound like I am against change, and don’t believe in reducing my carbon footprint, please accept that I am only voicing a few worries.

Today Boris has announced that he wants new petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars to cease being sold in just 15 years time. That sounds absolutely incredible, and will put us way ahead other countries. Going green is imperative if mankind is going to survive for more than a few generations.

In the newspaper there was also a story about the impending decision to phase out gas as a domestic fuel. Once again this is a wonderful idea, but perhaps it is not so widely known.

Of course I wouldn’t be writing this unless I suspect these brave plans might be very difficult to be comfortable with.

Lets start with the car issues.

  • Will our country be able to generate enough electricity to power the hundreds of thousands of electric cars?
  • Can sufficient charging units be cabled and fitted to avoid a huge fleet of cars with flat batteries clogging up the motorways hard shoulder – if they still exist.
  • Finally, and most worrying, will normal people be able to afford electric cars?

I looked this morning, and the cheapest electric is in the region of £15000, and they only have limited battery capacity allowing a range of around 100 miles. When you want to charge it up, it could be an hour before setting off again.

A family car will push the price up to at least £25000 to travel around 200 miles.

Going on holidays is destined to include very painful multiple choruses of:

Are you sure we’re not there yet?”

(My findings ignore tiny fun cars where the price is lower, but can hardly fit in a single passenger.)

Now moving to the change away from domestic gas heating and cooking.

  • I know a little more about this, as our move to the retirement village meant all electric living.
  • We have an apartment with very good insulation, and we have the supposedly economic German radiators.
  • In our previous house, we have electricity and gas and our monthly charge for energy was £55.
  • Now in a much smaller property, we are paying about £70. And, we are gaining heat from our adjacent neighbours, who possibly heat their apartments more than us.

As far as the cars go, I am sure we can use public transport more, and of course there will be second hand electric vehicles. But as someone who has tried for many decades to have a new car every few years, it will be strange.

Fortunately, I will probably be past caring about driving by then.

On the other hand, the all electric house is really worrying. Again the electrical capacity of Britain will have to increase dramatically. And older people, on pensions, are going to struggle.

So here is a message to Boris:

Boris, when you announce the decision to remove domestic gas to new homes, I hope you also insist that every new home should have solar calls to compensate for the increased fuel charges. And, if you study what is happening in Norway, there should also be a battery system to store energy from unused solar capacity“.