A parliamentary report warned the British government Wednesday that it is unlikely to meet its targets to produce 10 per cent of the country`s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010.
The Lords Science and Technology Committee said that the reason was because of insufficient long-term incentives for investors in the sector.
“The Government`s drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions and secure our energy supply should be applauded, but it`s not going about it the right way,” said committee chairman Lord Oxburgh. He said that energy from renewable sources was expensive and if the government wants private sector investment to achieve its targets, “it needs to provide more reassurance about long-term returns.”
“The current support arrangements favour only those developments that will give a quick return, in effect onshore wind farms,” the cross-bench peer said. The report studied the practical implementation of the Government`s policy on renewables and examined the potential of a wide range of sources, from wind and energy crops to tidal power and biomass, which uses degradable plant or animal material.
It found that wind is the UK`s most abundant source of renewable energy that could be built quickly, but warned that these have to be backed up from conventional plant for times when demand is high and there is little wind. The committee criticized the Government for not giving energy the priority it deserves and called for the appointment of a minister with the sole responsibility for energy rather than the current portfolio which is shared with e-commercials and competitiveness. It also called for improved co-ordination between government departments and for the establishment of a UK Energy Research to be expedited.
The British government seems to believe that market forces alone will prevent the lights going out, the report said, warning that members of the committee were “not so sure” this would be achieved.