Government Unblocks Barrier to Renewable Energy in UK

The British government has unlocked a number of renewable energy projects that had been blocked by a planning restriction.

LONDON, UK, 2001-03-23 <> An independent survey has estimated that 100 projects could proceed as a result of the new measures announced Thursday by Energy minister Peter Hain, including the £12 million 15 MW High Moor wind farm in County Durham that is being developed by National Wind Power. Another project that will benefit from the change is a 6 MW energy crop project, and a significant number are wind, landfill gas and hydro. “There is a need to unlock the potential of green energy from NFFO (non fossil fuel obligation) projects which have contracts but not secured planning consent,” says Hain. “I intend to free that potential, by allowing developers to look for alternative sites and seek new planning consents.” “This step will play a big part in ensuring the uptake of green energy in the next few years and help us to reach our target of 10 percent of energy supply from renewables by 2010,” he adds. The government will make an Order to allow renewable energy projects that are subject to contract under NFFO 3,4 and 5 Orders to change location. NFFO obliged electricity suppliers to secure a specified amount of generation capacity from specified renewable sources, and compensated them for the additional price by means of a fossil fuel levy. Relocating green energy projects that have been proposed under NFFO but have failed to obtain planning permission will be possible without the developer losing the benefit of their NFFO contract. “The green energy agenda is moving forward rapidly,” explains Hain. “New freedom for NFFO projects, combined with the introduction of regional strategies and targets ensures that renewables projects can be brought on stream more rapidly while still paying closer attention to local concerns.” “Existing NFFO contracts remain secure,” he adds. “The Government decided last year to move away from the NFFO mechanism to a market led approach under a Renewables Obligation. This will provide an assured market for renewables until 2026.” The British government is committed to supplying 10 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and has recently completed a preliminary consultation on a proposed renewables obligation, the principal policy mechanism for achieving that target. The government recently said it will establish Britain as a “credible player” in the solar energy market, and will concentrate on social housing retrofits and large public buildings. The package of support measures for renewables now amounts to £250 million over the next three years. NFFO was a mechanism under which the government obliged public electricity suppliers to secure a specified amount of generating capacity from renewable technologies specified by the Government. NFFO contracts were awarded following a competitive process under which the cheapest schemes were selected to secure the required capacity within each specified technology band. The change does not affect the equivalent arrangements in Scotland and Northern Ireland, called the SRO and NI NFFO Orders.

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