The Climate Change Committee’s report on renewables has drawn criticism for being too narrow and for supporting nuclear.
Green campaigners at the Renewable Energy Association say that The Renewables Energy Review’s focus on low carbon doesn’t represent the bigger picture, while Friends of the Earth expressed disappointment with the emphasis on nuclear power.
Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the REA criticised the climate committee’s “narrow climate change perspective” for failing to discuss factors such as energy security, diversification and employment creation.
Ms Hartnell said: “Carbon can easily become the proxy for why we’re doing renewables – and viewed through that lens alone, you just don’t get the full picture. Renewable energy is about far more than decarbonisation, and the report barely touches on the other things that renewables offer.”
Friends of the Earth’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Craig Bennett said the CCC was “right to call for a dramatic increase in investment” for renewables, but slated the special treatment reserved for nuclear.
However, some industry leaders welcomed the recommendations for a portfolio approach that includes nuclear as well as carbon capture storage and renewables.
David Porter, Chief Executive of the Association of Electricity Producers said: “It is good that the CCC recognises that a diverse range of power stations are needed in the UK. During the next ten years, old nuclear power stations will close and to comply with EU air emissions legislation, some coal power stations will shut as well.”
Climate change isn’t the only factor to take into account, which is why nuclear is necessary, he added: “Renewables will play their part in replacing these power stations, but with customers in mind, climate change issues can be only part of the agenda – reliability and cost are also major considerations and there is probably no single technology that ticks all the boxes. So, we also expect to see new gas-fired power stations, new nuclear power and coal with carbon capture and storage.”
Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, Lord Adair Turner said of the report: “The focus now should be creating a stable investment climate for renewables, making longer-term commitments to support less mature technologies, and putting in place incentives to deliver significantly increased investment in renewable power and heat generation required over the next decade.”