United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK in danger of missing renewables target

UK: The UK government has not done enough to commit to investing in more offshore wind beyond 2020, a cross-party parliamentary report has found.

"Without sufficient long term clarity over demand for offshore wind in the UK, it is unlikely that the UK will develop a strong domestic supply chain," the Power from Renewables report said.

"The Government has yet to provide clarity on what ambition will be set for 2030. A failure to do so will reduce the likelihood that this technology is available for deployment at scale and at the right cost in the 2020s," the report added.

The analysis suggests that a higher level of deployment, around 4GW, by 2030 would be the optimal scenario for inward investment.

While the report found there were a range of options for reducing the UK’s carbon emissions from energy generation, it said that identifying "low regrets" investments and narrowing the scope of options to proven technologies were the best way forward.

Offshore wind is characterised as the only renewable technology that can be deployed at sufficient scale should other low carbon technologies not be delivered as currently expected.

But speaking at the launch of the report, secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Davey refused to commit to narrowing the scope of technologies saying: "We have to keep our options open rather than commit to one source because the landscape is changing all the time."

This was a matter of concern for Dong Energy's country manager Benj Sykes who said: "The tech neutral stance makes the environment very difficult. We can't bring the costs down if there is no clear indication of the types of technology going to be used."

The report also said that there is limited scope for the growth of onshore wind as the market reaches maturity.

Indeed, the study found that the government would fail to hit its target of generating 15% of power through renewables by 2020 if planning consent for onshore wind projects is not forthcoming. This is significant, since the government recently changed planning laws to make it easier for local residents to block wind projects.

The move to counter this effect, in the form of increased community remuneration, ‘could make some projects uneconomic’, according to the report.

The report was compiled by independent think tank Carbon Connect for a cross-party parliamentary committee chaired by former energy minister Charles Hendry.

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