Manufacturers are urging the government to ditch specific renewable energy targets – focusing on the likes of wind and wave power – in favour of a broader low-carbon energy policy that encourages the expansion of clean coal and nuclear power.
A report published today by manufacturers’ organisation EEF says the government must put cost-effectiveness and supply security at the heart of the UK’s low carbon energy policy.
EEF chief economist Steve Radley said:
“Energy policy is at a crucial juncture. The urgent need to reduce carbon emissions is now widely accepted, but the significant cost of transforming our energy supply system is becoming increasingly apparent. Continuing the current approach to low-carbon energy policy will result in unnecessary costs being incurred and could ultimately undermine support for addressing climate change.”
Key recommendations in the EEF report include:
- The UK must be more open minded about how emissions are reduced and avoid an excessive focus on renewables. Policymakers should be setting targets for the expansion of low-carbon energy, whatever the source, rather than mandating a specific share for renewables and avoid creating barriers to the deployment of clean coal technology.
- The Renewables Obligation needs to be reformed to reduce the uncertainty it creates for investors and limit its tendency to overcompensate renewable generators.
- Any subsidies should be more discriminating and focus on the most cost effective technologies. For example at the domestic level the emphasis should be on renewable heat rather than electricity.
- Funding for energy related R&D should be increased and made more accessible to business. At the moment for example there are too many bodies with overlapping remits involved in energy R&D support.
It’s hardly suprising to see manufacturers – the biggest emitters of CO2 – taking this stance but it is a reminder of the balance the government needs to achieve between the sources of green energy, the cost and the reliability and security of supply.