UK To Form Office for Renewable Energy Deployment

As part of a government strategy for the UK’s manufacturing sector a new Office for Renewable Energy Deployment will be established to address barriers to renewables deployment, including helping to develop the UK supply chain.

The office will be charged with implementing the plan, “New Challenges, New Opportunities”, which is designed to help UK firms take advantage of changing global trends in manufacturing. The strategy brings together almost £150 million (US $300 million) of medium-term support for UK manufacturing, and sets out the government’s view of what the sector needs for success in the long term – including seizing the opportunities of the low carbon economy.

In a statement, the department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) said that next year a low carbon industrial strategy will address the challenges facing manufacturers as they try to reduce their carbon footprint and the huge opportunities from investment in energy and a shift to a low carbon economy. Nuclear and renewables alone could create up to 260,000 jobs over the next decade, the government said.

“Manufacturing is central to the success of the UK economy and it is vital the sector has the right foundations to endure the current economic slowdown and emerge stronger and fitter than ever. I want the UK to be at the forefront of opportunities opened up by the move towards a low carbon economy. With the right support in place, we can grow our nuclear and renewables industries to become world-leaders in green technologies,” said UK Business Secretary John Hutton.

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) welcomed the proposals for the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment, which should be up and running in the spring of 2009.

Commenting on the development, Maria McCaffery, BWEA’s chief executive said, “When it comes to R&D, the UK has been leading the world in areas such as wave and tidal, large turbine testing and small systems. But we have seen delays on deployment and this is where we hope the government’s new initiative will make a difference.”

However, the BWEA also pointed out that since the office will be located within BERR, it could fail to address the lack of co-ordination between various government departments and ministries. The trade association is calling for the creation of a government sub-committee to co-ordinate efforts to deliver the 2020 targets across all government departments.

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