Posted in: Press: Energy
Eleven leading renewable energy trade associations, representing over 600 companies engaged in the renewables sector, today joined forces and published an eight point action plan to rapidly expand the use of renewables in the UK to provide a quarter of our total energy needs by 2025. The action plan will be sent to all political parties ahead of the forthcoming general election. This recommendation is in line with that made recently by the Climate Change Task Force, headed by Stephen Byers, which called on the G8 countries to deliver a quarter of their power from renewable sources over the next twenty years.
The plan sets out how the UK can take full advantage of our vast renewable energy resources as we take action to reduce carbon emissions and increase our energy security. At the heart of the plan is an urgent call to develop renewables across all energy sectors so that the good progress being made in developing renewable electricity, especially wind power, is expanded for all renewable technologies. This will mean the Government setting targets and introducing financial support measures to create new markets for renewable heat and transport fuels.
The action plan also calls for measures to dramatically expand the use of small scale renewables for use on and in our homes and offices. The rapidly expanding renewable industry is also calling for the creation of a new Cabinet level post with specific responsibility for the delivery of the UK’s Climate Change Programme within a new Department of Energy and Environment.
Marcus Rand, Chief Executive of the British Wind Energy Association:
“The UK is blessed with a vast renewable energy resource and we have made good progress recently in developing a market for renewable electricity, especially through the development of wind power. However, this is just the tip of the renewable iceberg. We now need to bring new renewable technologies, like wave and tidal, to commercial take off, while at the same time intervening to drive new markets for renewable heat and transport fuels. Renewables are essential for us to meet our climate and energy security goals. As we enter a new era for energy policy they make environmental and economic sense and must be made a key political priority.”
Gareth Ellis, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association:
“The solar thermal industry in the UK lags way behind other northern European Countries. This is largely because of political neglect of this technology and a general lack of awareness of its potential. Solar water heating can make a huge contribution to CO2 reduction in housing. The equipment is well developed and works well in our climate. What the industry needs is support to develop the UK market, improve standards and train installers.”
Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of The Micropower Council:
“It is becoming increasingly clear that reductions in CO2 emissions are falling considerably short of the Government�s targets. Only a strong restatement of these targets in the form of a statutory duty to meet predefined levels of reductions will drive out the new policies needed to get the UK back on track. We welcome the development this year of the government’s Microgeneration Strategy, and the Renewable Energy Manifesto includes some of the specific policy measures needed to support an important new sector. Microgeneration has great potential in delivery of direct CO2 reductions, but also in engaging consumers in how their everyday activity has a direct impact on climate change.”
David Green, Director of the Combined Heat and Power Association:
“The Government�s persistent failure to deal with the crisis it has created in the CHP industry can only damage confidence in its commitment to renewables. We need to move beyond such a lacklustre approach, and ensure that through the use of the heat that many renewables are based on we not only achieve the Government’s CHP target, but also the much wider use of renewables.”
Gaynor Hartnell, Director of Policy, Renewable Power Association:
“We need to move whole scale to a more sustainable and secure energy system. Other renewable electricity technologies need assistance, so that they too can share in wind�s success. Renewable heat and transport fuels can play a major part in emissions reductions. Government needs to act to bring renewables, together with energy efficiency, into the mainstream. The 25% energy target is ambitious, but Government needs to show ambition in addressing climate change.”
Maf Smith, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables:
“Scotland has a significant opportunity from embracing the renewables revolution. Our resources are second to none, and we have the potential to be a world-leader in developing all forms of renewable energy, and making a significant contribution to the GB economy. This election is a chance for candidates to nail their colours to the renewable mast and sign up to meeting 25% of all of Scotland and the UK’s energy needs from renewable sources.”
Peter Billins, Chief Executive, British Biogen:
“So far policy has been focussed on electricity but renewables have a significant role to play across all sectors, electricity, heat and transport fuels. This is especially true of bio-energy which can make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions across all the energy sectors. Renewable transport fuels such as bio-diesel and bio-ethanol are available today and biomass heating is now increasingly seen as a possible alternative at all scales. The radical approach set out in the manifesto can realise this potential and bring jobs to the countryside and to UK manufacturing. The future of the renewable energy industry is a broad mix of technologies and resources working together to deliver safe and clean affordable power, heat and fuels for all.”
Renewable Energy Industry Action Plan:
Creation of a Cabinet level post with specific responsibility for delivery of the UK’s climate change programme
This ministerial position should be at the head of a new department of energy and environment, which would streamline the delivery of the UK’s renewable programme as well as bringing together climate responsibilities that are currently spread across several departments.
Extension of renewable electricity targets
The current targets for renewable electricity should be extended on an annual basis so that we secure at least 25% of our power from renewables by 2025, in line with the recent recommendation made to G8 nations by the International Climate Change Task Force.
Introduction of new policies that promote renewable energy in sectors other than electricity generation
This will require the setting of targets for renewable heat and transport fuels, which should be ramped up so that 25% of all Britain’s energy needs are met by renewables in 2025. If non-electricity renewables cannot be boosted to provide 25% of the demand in their sectors by 2025, the target for power should be raised so that the overall energy goal is met. Policies that can implement the heat and transport goals are already available: the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation was enabled by the Energy Act 2004, and a Renewable Heat Obligation Bill is currently before Parliament.
Additional revenue support for power generation technologies that are near to commercialisation under the Renewables Obligation
Some extra help will be crucial if biomass, offshore wind, microgeneration and other resources are to play their role in meeting the 10% by 2010 target. Such support could take the form of an output-related ‘top-up’ payment, different for each technology and reflecting the level of extra help required. A precedent has been set by the recently-announced plan for the early-stage wave and tidal stream technologies, which will benefit from a £100/megawatt hour (MWh) premium on top of income available under the Renewables Obligation. Other technologies will require less, reflecting their relative commercial maturity.
New tax incentives
Tax breaks and the reform of some tax levels to promote investment in renewables and remove anomalies that militate against renewable energy are required. In the immediate term, the recent proposal to increase rates for renewable power generators should be reversed. Beyond this, enhanced capital allowances should be given to all renewable energy investments excluding onshore wind and landfill gas and stamp duty rebates applied for domestic customers that install microgeneration within a defined period after moving home. Anomalies in the VAT system can also be usefully eliminated, such as the imposition of 17.5% VAT on renewable energy equipment while domestic energy is taxed at only 5%. Duty levels on biofuels also need to be further lowered to provide sufficient incentive for investors to put money into biofuel production facilities.
Measures to support micropower technologies
A package of measures to support the long term development of micropower technologies should be introduced. While we welcome the development of a Microgeneration Strategy, it is important that this contains meaningful, new policies for the sector, and is not simply a restatement of existing policies. In particular, the strategy should contain measurable targets for the sector. Policy should also be extended to small-scale renewables other than those producing electricity. Measures should be aimed not just at households but also at small businesses and other non-domestic buildings. The Government has made a good start in this area with the successful Clear Skies scheme, which should be retained and extended. The prospective new Part L of Building Regulations also represents a small yet promising step forward, as do VAT reductions for ground source heat pumps and microCHP. The �green building� programme that is intended to replace existing solar power programmes must be implemented quickly in order to reduce uncertainty for companies in this area and to stimulate building developers� transition to the use of renewable energy technologies. To support policy in the area of small-scale renewables, standards, competence and accreditation systems must be developed in order to sustain customer confidence in these new sectors. If microgenerators are to be properly supported, then two-way metering must be mandated as a necessary preparatory step.
A proactive planning framework for the implementation of renewable energy projects
With the recent implementation of PPS22 in England and TAN8 in Wales, the UK finally has a system that recognises that renewable energy is a national priority. The extent to which the new guidance improves the planning prospects for renewable development should be carefully monitored, with a view to strengthening it, if necessary, and ensuring it is proportionate to the scale of development.
A strategic plan for grid development and reinforcement
The electricity grid will need to be adapted to accommodate increasing levels of renewable capacity. This will require that the cost of extending the grid to where the renewable resources are located is not placed entirely on generators.
This was a statement by the renewable energy trade associations of the UK:
British Biogen, British Hydropower Association, British Pellet Club, British Photovoltaic Association, British Wind Energy Association, Combined Heat and Power Association, Ground Source Heat Pump Club, The Micropower Council, Renewable Power Association, Scottish Renewables Forum, Solar Trade Association