The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Report Sounds Warnings for UK Renewables Industry

Supply chain investments that are critical for the growth of the UK’s renewable energy industry are at risk because of hit-and-miss government policies, according to a new report.

The study says the government could do more to “narrow the scope of debate about the technology mix beyond 2020” and calls for it to work with industry and academia to establish “low regrets levels of deployment and to ensure policies are in place to incentivise investments”.

The report has been compiled by think-tank Carbon Connect and presents over 30 findings drawn from a year-long, independent inquiry into the UK power sector.

The inquiry is the second in a cross-party series called Future Electricity – the first report on fossil fuels was published earlier this year and the next will focus on nuclear power.

The report was launched in Westminster this week by former energy minister Charles Hendry, who said the UK renewables sector was “not in a good place” and “a phenomenal amount of investment” was need to rectify this.

He added that “so often, the debate on renewables is characterised by a lack of facts”, a point backed up by UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who said: “We need to see a more mature debate on renewables and energy generally.”

The report states that is the government must do more to “provide the longer term clarity that could secure supply chain investments to give the UK a head-start in the global race”.

It warns that these investments “could be missed, delayed or more expensive if there insufficient confidence about long-term demand for key technologies such as offshore wind”.

And it added that “work by government to help incentivise these investments” was vital to “help mitigate against high costs if new nuclear or carbon capture and storage development fails or is delayed”.

The report states that the UK has massive renewables resources but “only a small fraction is currently harnessed” – 11.3 percent of Britain’s total electricity supply last year.

The government wants to lift this to 30 percent by 2030 and the report states that while the UK is on track for this target, achieving it is contingent on “planning consents for offshore wind, the success of biomass conversions and technology cost reductions for offshore wind and solar PV”.

Whether these cost reductions can be achieved is dependant on supply chain investment and the report says this is critical, as “offshore wind is likely to be the only renewable technology that can de deployed at sufficient scale should other low carbon technologies not deliver as expected”.

Davey pointed to the recent openings of offshore projects London Array and Greater Gabbard as a sign of “how well placed the UK is for offshore wind”, but the fear is that there is not enough investor confidence to sustain their momentum to 2020 and beyond.

The report also looks at the sustainability of electricity from biomass and concludes that bioenergy overall could provide up to 10 percent of energy and reduce the cost of cutting carbon by £44 billion (€52 billion) per year in 2050.

But it adds that this will only happen if carbon capture and storage technology is commercialised and adequate feedstocks can be sustainably sourced.

Read more renewable energy news here.

Lead image: UK flag via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

The New Normal? Renewables, Efficiency, And “Too Much Electricity”

Clint Wilder, Clean Edge Just over a decade ago, the state of California faced serious concerns about whether its utilities could generate and/or buy enough power to assure that the world’s seventh-largest economy could keep the lights on. The infa...

Engineering Possibilities Versus Practical Implementation: Utility Portfolios and Business Models

Renewable Energy World Network Editors Europe’s utilities are re-evaluating their business models due to the energy transition. Members of POWER-GEN Europe’s Advisory Board consider how a reliance on fossil fuels is no longer politically desirable, forcing utili...

New World Bank Report: Chinese Clean-tech SMEs Embrace Opportunities

Liu Yuanyuan, International Correspondent The World Bank indicated in its new report "Building Competitive Green Industries: The Climate and Clean Technology Opportunity for Developing Countries" that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countrie...

Using Geothermal Solutions to Desalinate Oil Field Water

Cathy Chickering Pace, SMU Geothermal Lab Clean water — it’s a precious resource in hot demand right now, for more than taking a shower or watering our crops. The United Nations projects the world’s population will grow by another billion people, to 8.4 Billion, ...
Kelvin Ross is Deputy Editor of Power Engineering International magazine and its associated publications – Middle East Energy and the Global Power Review. Previously, Kelvin was News Editor at UK online news site Energy Live News, Production Edito...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

National Geothermal Summit 2015

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is pleased to be holding its fif...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

The Question Trilogy

    It’s crucial to learn what your prospect needs from...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS