Following the announcement by the EU commission that the UK must supply 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, The Renewable Energy Centre urged the government to take immediate and practical steps to achieve this.
In order to achieve these stringent targets the government has recognised that much of the renewable energy needed will come from wind power generated on land and offshore. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has estimated that 27 percent, 23GW of the UK's electricity supply will need to come from wind generated power by 2020, this is an increase of 30 to 40 percent. In a report published by The Independent this week an estimated 10,000 turbines will need to be installed in order to achieve this.
The Renewable Energy Centre expressed concern that current planning approvals for wind farms both onshore and offshore are still taking much too long which is causing delay with 9.5GW of wind schemes awaiting planning permission. The Independent also reported delays in the manufacturing of wind turbines with demand far outstripping supply and a current lead time of around 3 years.
The Renewable Energy Centre advocated investment into British industry to manufacture turbines as a way to speed up production and installation of the wind power generation needed by 2020. It had already stated in previous articles that the UK has all the necessary skills and industrial capabilities to enter the global market and the BWEA Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery also agreed stating "Britain could be a world leader in renewable energy if we have the will to make this vision a reality. In order to reach the new target there will need to be a step change in government policy to harness the UK's potential".
The scale in the development of the UK's wind power over the next 12 years is one which will require proactive engagement from the government, reduced planning approval times and the establishment of a productive manufacturing industry. Richard Simmons, Managing Director at The Renewable Energy Centre said "As the UK and global energy or climate change crisis really hits home over the next four years, it is vital that manufacturing capacity is in place. At no time in our history has it been more obvious that the government should use blatant tax incentives to get manufacturing capacity in place for renewable energy supply."
He continued "The potential available to the UK is dependant on infrastructure being in place to cope with where the power is coming from and being supplied to. Simultaneously we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for heating and encourage home owners through legislation or incentives to install micro generation solutions and implement simple energy saving measures."
The Renewable Energy Centre applauded the government's recent announcement to approve offshore sites which could produce up to 33GW of electricity but stated that continued investment and proactive policy was needed from the individual to the large scale, in order to meet the 2020 targets.
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