£2.75bn. That’s what it costs. 2.75 billion British Pounds.
From this book comes this passage:
The incandescent bulb reigned supreme for more than a century, being still the dominant form of lighting, at least in domestic settings, well into the first decade of the twenty-first century. When it gave way to a new technology, it did so under duress. That is to say, it had to be banned, because its replacement was so unpopular. The decision by governments all over the world around 2010, lobbied by the makers of compact fluorescent bulbs, to ‘phase out’ incandescents by fiat in the interest of cutting carbon dioxide emissions, proved to be a foolish one.
The compact fluorescent replacements took too long to warm up, did not last as long as advertised and were hazardous to dispose of. They were also much more expensive. Their energy-saving did not make up for these drawbacks in most consumers’ eyes, so they had to be forced on to the market. The cost to Britain alone, of this coerced purchase and the subsidy that accompanied it, has been estimated at about £2.75bn.
Worst of all, had governments waited a few more years, they would have found a far better replacement coming along that was even more frugal in energy and had none of the disadvantages: light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.
The reign of the compact fluorescents lasted just six years before they too were rapidly abandoned and manufacturers stopped producing them because of the falling cost and rising quality of LEDs.
It is as if the government in 1900 had forced people to buy steam cars instead of waiting for better internal-combustion vehicles. The whole compact fluorescent light bulb episode is an object lesson in misinnovation by government.
As the economist Don Boudreaux put it: ‘Any legislation forcing Americans to switch from using one type of bulb to another is inevitably the product of a horrid mix of interest-group politics with reckless symbolism designed to placate an electorate that increasingly believes that the sky is falling.’