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UK green energy industry calls for extended targets

Date: 22-May-03
Country: UK
Author: Eva Sohlman

"We want a new target for renewable sources to supply 30 percent of the UK's electricity by 2027," Philip Wolfe, chief executive for UK's Renewables Power Association, told Reuters.

"We also want to strengthen the Renewables Obligation by extending quotas beyond 2010," he said.

Under the Renewables Obligation Britain sets a legally binding target for utilities to supply 10 percent of their sales from renewable sources by 2010, up from about three percent currently.

Renewable energy sources are wind, biomass, solar, tidal, wave and biogas power.

Last week the UK wind power industry said its future development is under threat as uncertainty about the government's long-term policy on green energy makes it difficult to secure financing for new projects.

Earlier this month the U.N. said Britain is well on course to meet its Kyoto goals but Wolfe echoed the British wind power industry and said an extension of current quotas was needed to encourage investors.

"We want to always have 10 years' visibility (for targets) into the future to make it easier for investors," he said.

The Renewables Obligation is one of the tools with which Britain hopes to cut polluting greenhouse gases by 12.5 percent by 2010 on 1990's levels to curb global warming under a United Nations Kyoto protocol.

In a white paper on future energy policy, published earlier this year, the government said it aspires to boost the contribution of green energy to the energy mix by 20 percent by 2020 but Wolfe said a stronger commitment was needed.

Under the Renewables Obligation utilities must prove they have met the targets by providing Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), either issued against its own green generation or bought on the open market.

The system guarantees green energy schemes with revenue going forward, helping them to secure loans from financiers.

But uncertainty about what will happen after 2010, and the value of ROCs beyond that date, is unnerving investors.

Wolfe said fixed term power purchase agreements with guaranteed periods and prices would reduce uncertainty and encourage investors.

He also said there was a need to alleviate and improve access for renewable energy plants to the electricity network and to make it easier for projects to get planning permission.

"The government's too timid on targets for renewables and its policies are too thin and weak to deliver the result. They haven't said how we'll get there," Wolfe said.

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