Friday, 10 September 2010

U.K. Climate Adviser Urges Government Not to Raise Renewable Energy Target

The U.K. shouldn't raise its target for generating 15 percent of its energy
for heating, power and transportation from renewable sources by 2020 because
it would be too costly, the government's climate change adviser said. Instead, Britain should focus on achieving the goal by reducing obstacles to
wind farms and solar parks, upgrading the electricity grid, and ensuring
that subsidies provide enough support for clean energy companies, Adair
Turner, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said today in a letter
to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne. "Meeting the 2020 renewable energy target requires a step- change in the
rate of progress," Turner wrote in the letter, e- mailed to reporters.
Government energy policy statements "should clearly highlight the need for
early sector decarbonisation and the implications for investment. Investment
in unabated gas should be very limited beyond 2020, with almost all
investment flowing to renewable and other low-carbon forms of generation." The plan for 30 percent of electricity to come from renewable generation in
2020 is "appropriate," and a target of getting 8 percent of transportation
fuels from biofuels is "desirable," Turner said. A proposal to increase the amount of heat derived from renewable sources to
12 percent in 2020 from 1.6 percent last year may be "very expensive at the
margin," and a less- ambitious target may be appropriate, he said. The Renewable Energy Association, an industry group, said that while it
agreed with the committee's recommendation of sticking to the 15 percent
overall target, the 8 percent goal for biofuels undershoots a mandatory
European Union target of getting 10 percent of energy for transport from
renewable. "It would be illegal too, unless electric transport fills the shortfall,"
Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive officer of the association, said in an
e-mailed statement.

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