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Monday, April 23, 2012

Electricity - Government Controlled National Monopolies Not Free Trade Goods - and it shows

    Here is an edited wikipedia list of electricity prices, in cents, by country.

Argentina 05.74
Australia 25
Belgium 29.06
Brazil 34.18
Canada 10.78
China 16.0 (tariff for renewables - not true grid price)
Chile 23.11
Denmark 40.38
Dubai 07.62
Finland 20.65
France 19.39
Germany 36.48
Hungary 23.44
Hong Kong 12.04
Iceland 03.93
Ireland 28.36
Italy 28.39
Israel 12.34
New Zealand 19.15
PerĂº 10.44
Russia 09.58
Singapore 22.83
South Africa 05.37
Sweden 27.10
Taiwan 07 up to 17.2
Turkey 13.1
UK 21.99
Ukraine 03.05
USA 11.20
Uzbekistan 04.95
Vietnam 06.20 to 10.01

   I suspect these prices don't entirely reflect reality, partly because some of them are several years old and some current, but also because, like China, they aren't actually measuring the price paid. In some cases, like Peru where the power isn't often available outside the capital city, or South Africa, with frequent blackouts, the official price may be the least of people's worries.
  Even so there is a significant correlation between this and the GNP production $s Needed for each Kilowatt ($NEK).  It is also amazing how widely these prices vary. Sometimes, as with Iceland, this is because of the natural resource base. But if Hong Kong, which has no natural resources, can produce electricity at half our price that is clearly the advantage of a free market not resources.
    It also shows how much free trade in power would cut prices and stimulate the entire world economy (though particularly the bits with grossly overpriced power). There is no doubt that High Voltage DC (HVDC) cabling would make shipment of electricity worldwide much cheaper than for most commodities and that a HVDC world grid has been possible for some decades.

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