London, England [Renewable EnergyAccess.com] The UK renewable energy industry can meet the European Union target of generating 20 percent of the region’s electricity from renewable resources by 2020 with effective government support, said the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA)in a recent statement.
In response to suggestions from UK civil servants that the target cannot be met, BWEA said such a suggestion “is simply wrong” and that the wind industry can play a large role in helping the government meet it’s renewable energy procurement obligations.
“The UK has 40 percent of Europe’s entire wind resource and with these abundant resources we should be a world leader in renewable energy generation,” said the statement from BWEA. “Although the UK currently trails behind our European partners’ levels of renewable generation, the UK has doubled its wind energy capacity over the past 20 months. The equivalent of 6 percent of the UK’s electricity supply remains held up in the planning system from onshore wind energy projects alone, which means the UK can meet its 2010 targets and set the stage to meet for more ambitious targets to 2020.”
BWEA said that it welcomes the UK government agreeing to the EU target, but that it does not ensure delivery of electricity from renewable resources to the grid. The association outlined objectives for the UK government, which include:
• Accelerating new site awards for offshore wind. The UK wind industry estimates that it could realistically supply 20 GW (approximately 17 percent of the UK’s electricity capacity) by 2020 from offshore wind alone.
• Expanding the Renewables Obligation (RO) further to encourage investment, by extending its life beyond 2027 and raising support above 20 percent by 2020. Analysts believe that up to £30bn of investment is available for new offshore wind energy projects over the next 15 years, and the RO is the key to unlocking this.
• Unblocking the logjam in the onshore planning system which currently holds the equivalent of 6 percent of potential UK electricity supply. If just one quarter of these projects were approved within the next 6 months, said BWEA, the 10 percent renewable electricity target could be more than met by 2010.