United Kingdom

United Kingdom

House of Lords attacks priorities of government's renewable energy policy

The UK's renewables policy has come in for some stinging criticism from a group of members of the House of Lords. In its inquiry and report into renewable energy, the Select Committee on Science and Technology says it found almost nobody outside government who believed the country's renewables targets were likely to be achieved. "We judge that by 2010 the United Kingdom may have achieved 6-7% renewable generation," the report says, instead of the 10% goal. The Lords are particularly scathing about the government's main support mechanism, the Renewables Obligation (RO). "We believe that this mechanism will in fact ensure that the government's targets are not attained, even though offshore wind enjoys additional capital grants." The RO discriminates in favour of more commercial technologies such as wind, the report says. "If the government wish to achieve their renewable target of 10% by 2010, or to diversify the national renewable portfolio, and there are good reasons to do so, the RO will need modification in the near future." The Lords "deplore" the minimal amounts committed to research and development. They conclude that the government is not taking energy problems sufficiently seriously. Transport has not been tackled, arrangements for combined heat and power generation are not attractive, and the energy minister carries other responsibilities, they say. "Most important of all we could find no one at the executive level whose responsibility it was to ensure continuity of supply. We were told simply that market forces would solve the problem. We are not convinced."

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