Industry Backs Government Commitment to Green Energy Revolution

Industry Backs Government Commitment to Green Energy Revolution

30% renewable electricity target by 2020, now time to back strategy and build UK supply chain.
Wind, wave and tidal expected to deliver bulk of targets.
Industry call for political consensus to encourage investment.

The UK’s wind, wave and tidal industry today endorsed the Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) as a clear, detailed roadmap on how the country will reach its target of generating 15% of energy consumption from renewables.

Maria McCaffery MBE, Chief Executive of BWEA, the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to delivering on the 2020 targets. They have rightly ignored the siren calls to abandon wind as the driving force for reaching the targets.

The RES provides a clear routemap for the growth of a new £60bn industry and the creation of 60,000 UK jobs. However, industry is now looking for a cross party consensus on the detail of delivery. This will help convince investors that the country is serious about fighting climate change and developing domestic, renewable sources of energy.”

The RES recommits the Government to a massive increase in renewables generation going up from 5% today to 30% by 2020. Based on the figures in last year’s draft strategy this implies 22% of all electricity will come from offshore and onshore wind and another 2% from marine technologies. However, today’s strategy does not contain a detailed breakdown of the expected contribution from different technologies. Overall, although the strategy places a strong emphasis on wind to deliver the bulk of the targets, BWEA is surprised that the Government has not taken the opportunity to give confidence to investors by clearly stating its ambition for the size of the sector, especially offshore.

The RES is set to deliver a host of other incentives encouraging deployment of small wind systems and setting clear expectations at local level on progress towards targets. It will also launch a proposal for Feed-in Tariff rates, while reiterating commitment to the Renewable Obligation until 2037. The Feed-in Tariff will enable organisations and individuals installing renewable energy devices to sell surplus electricity units for a fixed amount set by Government in advance, from April of 2010. The measure is expected to encourage deployment of renewable energy at grassroots level.

While welcoming the RES BWEA also argued that the Government needs to take stronger measures to encourage local authority planners to approve wind energy schemes and to deliver the strategic grid network expansion vital to developing our renewables resources.

Maria McCaffery concluded: “We are at a point where industry, Government and the people of this country have a converging interest in protecting the UK’s environment, while ensuring our long-term energy security.

We know that our 2020 targets can be met: UK is currently world leader in offshore wind, in wave and tidal energy, and in small systems. We are on the threshold of a new energy era and need just one more decisive push over the next ten years to deliver on our targets, and move to a low carbon economy. The RES is the roadmap we have been waiting for, and we now need to set our sights squarely on implementation.”

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