The UK’s two largest renewable organisations have cautiously welcomed today’s carbon budget by the Committee on Climate Change.
The Renewable Energy Association’s chief executive Gaynor Hartnell praised the report but pointed out what she felt were some glaring omissions.
“We’re surprised to see no mention of solar power, which should cost the same as conventional electricity by the start of the fourth carbon budget period. In Germany, PV is expected to reach grid parity by 2015.”
Ms Hartnell added that “a wide range of technologies, both large-scale and decentralised, will be required to achieve a radical decarbonisation of the electricity market.”
She said electric vehicles “make sense – but biofuels will be required for shipping and air travel, where electricity isn’t an option.”
On the CCC’s recommendation that farming take up more renewable options, she said “biogas is a winner. As well as producing renewable energy, its by-product, bio-fertiliser, substitutes for carbon-intensive mineral fertiliser, keeping nutrients cycling in the soil and improving its condition.”
RenewableUK backed the CCC’s call for a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, but warnedthe government against the introduction of tendering for low carbon capacity and emphasised the need for further investment in renewables.
RenewableUK’s director of policy Gordon Edge said: “We very much welcome the committee’s carbon reduction announcement, but we must warn against tendering of long-term contracts for low carbon capacity. Given our unsuccessful experience of tenders during the 1990s under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation, we would strongly urge the government not to go down this route.”
Dr Edge added that “the 2020s will be a key decade in our journey towards decarbonisation of our electricity supply and we need clarity on the contributions of the various technologies, so we can plan ahead and get the maximum benefit for the UK economy”.
Commenting on the need for further investment in renewable technologies, Dr Edge said: “Renewables have a key role to play in achieving these targets but investment will be needed to bring down the cost of these technologies. For example, significant investment will be needed in offshore technology over the next decade in order for it to deliver what is expected.”