Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from The Ministry of Defence[47]

(a)  The MOD has a large estate in the UK and is a considerable consumer of energy. What energy targets, if any, has the Department set with regard to the purchase of self-generation of renewable energy for the period up to 2010?

  The MOD is currently devising a strategy to enable it to meet the Government targets for the purchase or self-generation of renewable energy for the period up to 2010 MOD energy consumption is in the order of 80 per cent of the overall Government total, the majority of which is in the form of electricity. The Department is still concerned that the purchase of a significant portion of the available green energy supplies would have two main effects: firstly, it would put a premium price on the supply of green energy due to the limited amount available; and secondly it may preclude other industries from gaining the benefit from the advantages of using green energy offered by the Climate Change Levy. Recent tender returns for the supply of 1MW sites with a five per cent element to be from renewable sources indicated that this target is not achievable in some areas of the country.

  To ascertain the MOD's chances of being able to procure five per cent green energy, the Defence Utilities Working Group (DUWG) has tasked Energy Procurement for Defence (EPD) to approach the electricity suppliers and ask what the availability of green energy is in the UK. MOD Top Level Budget (TLB) focal points have also been tasked with approaching the TLB budget holders to seek approval for EPD to purchase green energy on their behalf, providing that it does not entail excessive cost. The outcome of these two investigations will determine if MOD is able to procure the five per cent currently required to meet the target.

  An internal MOD working group had been tasked with developing a comprehensive non-operational energy management system, which included reviewing policy on the purchase and self-generation of renewable energy. A policy statement has now been formulated and put before the Defence Safety Health Environment and Fire (SHEF) Board for approval. At the same time the DUWG has prepared for issue to the Defence SHEF Board a policy and strategy proposal report on Renewable Energy opportunities on the MOD estate.

(b)  What policy or operational interests, if any, does the MOD have in the development and siting of different kinds of renewable energy generation plant—including the erection of wind turbines either onshore or offshore.

  The current MOD policy on the development and siting of different kinds of renewable energy generation plant is to assess options on a case by case basis. The Department currently has the capacity to produce over 2MW of electricity from combined heat and power and has installed solar heating on some barrack blocks and a swimming pool. The Defence Logistics Organisation is currently seeking funding for the siting of a 12MWh wind farm in West Scotland. Ambient energy systems along with sun pipes and water harvesting systems have been installed in one office facility with a further one still being planned. A feasibility study is currently looking at the installation of earth energy systems to nine further office blocks.

  As part of the Scottish wind farm project it is planned to hold an Industry day. This will be for all forms of renewable energy, which may have benefits to the MOD estate and will not be confined to just wind power. The idea is to ascertain what interest the Renewable Energy Industry has for collaborative works within the MOD estate and where MOD should maximise input.

  The MOD's position on the erection of wind turbines is that each proposal will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. MOD studies have found that the size and physical properties of the wind turbines can impact on operational training. The height of these has a significant impact on low flying activities. In addition, the motion of the blades can interfere with the performance of equipment such as radar and other electronic devices.

February 2002

47   This memorandum represents an update of that supplied in response to the inquiry launched on Renewable Energy by the previous Committee and published in HC 334 2000-01. The italicised questions relate to that earlier inquiry. Back

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