Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Fifth Report


237. Once finalised by the EU Commission, the UK's 2020 renewable energy target will be mandatory. The agreed target is likely to require around 15 per cent of energy to be supplied from renewables, which in turn will require upwards of 35 per cent of electricity to be generated by renewable technologies (up from 4.6 per cent in 2006[243]).

238. Critical to meeting the 2020 target will be the widespread deployment of renewable electricity-generation devices, both at the level of macro and microgeneration. At the current time, rather than acting within a framework that functions to support the delivery of renewable electricity-generation installations, project developers face a lengthy wait for planning consent, limited access to the electricity transmission system, and a shortage of the necessary skills and equipment to allow for efficient project delivery.

239. To meet National Targets it is now essential that immediate steps are taken to support the RDD&D needs of the renewable electricity industry. We welcome the Government's commitment to consult on a new Renewable Energy Strategy. However, without increased public acceptance of renewable technologies, a clearer funding landscape, and action to upgrade and expand the UK electricity transmission system, no amount of Government intervention will be sufficient to meet the challenge that lies ahead.

240. Given the scale of the renewable energy targets and the need for action by stakeholders at every level, from the consumer to the Government, we were surprised and concerned by the lack of urgency with which organisations such as National Grid spoke of the need for change. Further, although Mr Malcolm Wicks, Minister for Energy, offered warm words to the renewables industry ("their task is urgent and the challenges are great, but we shall overcome. That is my message to them" [244]), we sensed little engagement on the part of the Government with the issue at hand. We think it reasonable to expect the Government to lead on this matter and hope that a greater sense of dynamism, together with a clear strategy for progress, will be forthcoming.

241. On a more positive note, we believe that with decisive and co-ordinated action it is feasible to meet the 2020 renewable energy targets. To do so, however, it is essential that any action is both considered and swift; without this we may find that the increasingly short amount of time we have to make the necessary change has run out.

243 Back

244   Q 401 Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 19 June 2008