In the European Union energy prices are among the highest in the world. Just to compare: Chinese companies pay around 20 per cent less for electricity than medium sized industrial consumers in the EU, companies in India 65 per cent less and companies based in the US and Russia less than half the European consumers.
Business for Britain research demonstrates that the increasing cost of energy endangers up to 1.5 million jobs in the energy intensive sector alone, with 363,000 of these jobs being seriously threatened. EU policies currently account for up to 9 per cent of the cost of energy for Energy Intensive Industries. By 2030 this could rise to just under 16 per cent. Were the UK to opt out of the Renewables Target alone, energy bills for Energy Intensive Industries could fall by up to 7 per cent. Detailed analysis of Government Impact Assessments (IAs) reveals that EU energy regulations will cost the UK economy between £86.6 billion and £93.2 billion (net). Despite this high cost of this regulatory burden there is little evidence from European Commission figures that EU rules have significantly promoted cross border trade.
In 2012-13 alone the National Health Service spent about £630 million on energy. Between 2005 and 2012 the gas price index for the EU increased by 35 per cent and the electricity price index increased by 38 per cent. In the United States by contrast the gas price fell by 66 per cent and the electricity price fell by 4 per cent due in part to shale gas among other factors. Europe's high energy prices undermine efforts to combat climate change as Europe could become increasingly dependent on imports from other countries, countries which do not comply with the same high environmental standards that European firms do.
Half of the UK power stations earmarked for closure in 2020 have been forced to close because of the demands of the EU's Large Combustion Directive (2001/80/EC). This is estimated to cost the UK 11GW in capacity, raising serious concerns about security of supply. By 53 per cent to 38 per cent British manufacturers, who are much more dependent on energy than other business sectors, believe that the costs of EU membership outweigh the benefits. The Prime Minister has put the cost of an EU renewable's target as an additional £9bn per year to UK energy bills in 2030 and has called upon the European Commission to simplify "the existent targets regime from three targets to one".