UK - Renewable energy industry can meet EU 2020 target with effective Government support

Wind energy capacity in the UK doubled over the past 20 months

It is simply wrong for civil servants to now suggest that the 20% EU target cannot be met – the UK wind energy industry is confident that it can meet these new renewable xobjectives if the Government takes the necessary measures to support it.

The UK has 40% of Europe’s entire wind resource and with these abundant resources we should be a world leader in renewable energy generation. Although the UK currently trails behind our European partners’ levels of renewable generation, the UK has doubled its wind energy capacity over the past 20 months. The equivalent of 6% of the UK’s electricity supply remains held up in the planning system from onshore wind energy projects alone, which means the UK can meet its 2010 targets and set the stage to meet for more ambitious targets to 2020.

BWEA welcomes the Government signing up to the EU target to generate 20% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020 but this is not enough alone to ensure delivery. Investment in the wind industry is ready, but a lack of government action is preventing deployment on a large scale. Specifically the Government should:

• accelerate new site awards for offshore wind, which are necessary if the 2020 targets are to be reached. The UK wind industry estimates that it could realistically supply 20 GW (approximately 17% of the UK’s electricity capacity) by 2020 from offshore wind alone. In order to deliver this level of capacity, a new generation of offshore wind sites will need to be awarded by the time of the London Olympics, but the industry is still waiting for the Government to launch the next Strategic Environmental Assessment, which is required before a site award process can begin.

• expand the Renewables Obligation further to encourage investment, by extending its life beyond 2027 and raising support above 20% by 2020. Analysts believe that up to £30bn of investment is available for new offshore wind energy projects over the next 15 years, and the RO is the key to unlock this.

• unblock the logjam in the onshore planning system which currently holds the equivalent of 6% of potential UK electricity supply, unable to get a decision. If just one quarter of these projects were approved within the next 6 months, the 10% renewable electricity target could be more than met by 2010 and in total, onshore wind energy can meet 10% of the UK’s electricity needs by 2020 from just 5,000 turbines.

Ministers must ensure their officials take action to overcome Britain’s self-imposed obstacles rather than invent reasons for pretending that Britain is incapable of developing renewable energy as effectively as other countries in Europe.

For further information contact:
Charles Anglin, Director of Communications, 020 7689 1966, 0774 002 3641
British Wind Energy Association
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
BWEA, wind energy, renewable energy, wind turbine, wind power, wind farm, rotorblade, onshore, offshore

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