Submission from Greenpeace UK
1. Greenpeace UK is an office of Greenpeace
International, a campaigning organisation that is independent
of governments and businesses, being funded entirely by individual
2. Greenpeace was one of the first organisations
to campaign for action to be taken to halt anthropogenic climate
change. It has built up considerable expertise on the links between
energy use and climate change. The expertise includes scientific
knowledge, understanding of the economics of the electricity market,
analysis of state subsidy and business impacts and behavioural
responses to the climate threat.
3. Greenpeace's expertise and is recognised
in a number of international and national fora. At international
level, Greenpeace holds Economic and Social Council NGO status
at the United Nations. Greenpeace has participated in and observed
the UN's Climate Change Negotiations since 1989. Among Greenpeace
staff members are lead authors on reports of the many chapters
of Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. Greenpeace also
has official observer status and engages in public consultations
held by the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, the IMF
and the Asian Development Bank.
4. Greenpeace welcomes the opportunity to
contribute to this inquiry into renewable energy-generating technologies
at a crucial time for the future of the UK energy policy and development
of the renewable energy industry.
5. On 9 March 2007, the former Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, entered commitments on behalf of the UK that will
require radical, although achievable, alterations to how the UK
generates its energy. At the Spring European Council, the EU agreed
a package of targets on emissions reductions, energy efficiency
and renewable energy generation, including committing to a binding
target of 20% of total energy to come from renewable technologies.
The 20% target encompasses all energy for heat, power and transport.
6. This target is commensurate with the
nature of the challenge of tackling climate change. If we are
to make 80-90% cuts in CO2 emissions from UK by 2050,
we will not do it by energy efficiency, switching from coal to
gas, and hoping that people don't overfill their kettles before
making tea. We will need a complete re-orientation of our energy
policy, including (by current standards) huge amounts of renewable
energy and combined heat and power. It is entirely appropriate
that a challenging target for renewable generation is set as an
intermediate staging post. Given that it is now 15 years since
the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, our current energy
sourcing from renewable power of less than 2%lagging behind
our European partnersindicates a lamentable lack of vigour
in tackling the threat.
7. To date, UK energy policy has tended
to focus purely on the electricity sector, neglecting transport
and heat energy. This focus neglects the full potential for renewable
generation, especially in the heat sector where the government
has shown no real interest.
8. The UK has an immense renewable resources
potential available. Compared to its European partners the UK
is in the enviable position of being able to meet its energy needs
many times over through renewable resources. Yet the UK lags behind
many of its European neighbours on installed capacity for renewable
generation, especially Spain and Germany, despite being a manufacturing
base for some of the largest developers and suppliers of key renewable
9. There are a variety of technologies available,
at various stages of commercialisation but all are viable or potentially
viable technologies, capable of being deployed on a large/wide
scale, including offshore wind, photovoltaic, solar thermal, wave,
tidal, anaerobic digestion and biomass heating or CHP.
10. The UK can more than adequately meet
the EU 20% renewable energy target with the currently available
technologies. Although the "burden-sharing" arrangements
of this 20% target have yet to be negotiated, the enormous renewable
energy potential that the UK has means that reduction of the UK
target, so that other countries with less good resources would
have to do more, seems politically unrealistic. In any case, Greenpeace
calculates the UK can comfortably reach 20% of energy from renewable
energy by 2020. The graph and tables below indicate the feasible
potential for renewable energy in 2020 on the basis of published
data or industry estimates. It assumes that energy consumption
remains roughly the same as it is nowin practice we could
improve on this considerably.
1 http://www.dtistats.net/energystats/ecuk14.xlsfinal energy consumption for transport.
2 Derived from remaining energy used by sector not allocated to power and transport.
3 http://www.dtistats.net/energystats/dukes55.xlsfinal consumption.
4 http://www.dtistats.net/energystats/ecuk14.xlstotal final energy consumption.
5 Greenpeace does not believe the 10% RTFO target is acceptable or achievable in an ecological sound way. We have limited biofuel contribution to 5% of transport fuel use for the purpose of this exercise.
6 Assumes currently installed hydro capacity is supplemented by further capacity in small and micro hydro. We are also assuming that the remaining potential large hydro sites are included. This does not indicate any such support for new large hydro.
7 Biomass Strategy, May 2007. For the purposes of this exercise all biomass is used in a heat only boilers at 85% efficiency on district heating networks.
8 http://www.nsca.org.uk/assets/biogasastransportfueljune06.pdf Methane potential from anaerobic digestion. Assumed all biogas is used in CHP.
9 Includes onshore and offshore wind currently installed, in planning and the potential Greenpeace believes at least this could be achieved by 2020. Total practicable potential is 150TWh is stated in www.r-e-a.net/content/images/articles/IPA%20Report%20June%2006.pdf
10 With proper support Greenpeace believes could be delivered by 2020, through wave power, tidal stream and including the development of marine energy in the Severn.
11 2OC (www.2oc.co.uk) state geopressure capacity of 1GW by 2010.
12 Figures derived from those in Study of Renewable Energy Potentials carried out by IPA Energy Consulting on behalf of REA (www.r-e-a.net/content/images/articles/IPA%20Report%20June%2006.pdf). Microrenewables includes solar thermal, solar PV and heat pumps.
13 Remaining energy is derived from fossil fuels.
11. Our framework for thinking about renewable energy
should no longer be "how much is appropriate for the UK?".
Instead, our framework for policy should be "How do we best
reach 20% renewable energy given the enormous resource available
and the binding commitment we have entered into?".
12. In short, the focus of energy policy should be on
delivering the 20% renewable energy target whilst simultaneously
reducing carbon emissions and driving energy efficiency to reduce
gross demand for energy.
13. Reducing energy demand should make the 20% target
more achievable. Thus an important way that the UK can help fulfil
its commitment of 20% gross energy consumption is by a shift from
the current, wasteful centralised electricity system to a decentralised
14. Currently, two thirds of the energy used in electricity
generation is wasted as heat, resulting in a greater demand for
primary energy than is necessary. The base load of heat and electricity
required could be provided by one generating technology, a CHP
plant, close to the point of end use, distributing heat and electricity,
rather than having electricity generated far from the point of
use and heat provided by gas or oil boilers on-site.
15. With a large proportion of electricity generating
capacity reaching the end of its useful life, the UK has a unique
opportunity to move towards a decentralised power system with
a focus on renewables, cogeneration and energy efficiency.
16. Further information about the cost, emissions and
security benefits can be found in the annexes on Decentralising
Power: an Energy Revolution for the 21st Century
and Decentralising UK Energy: Cleaner, Cheaper, more Secure
energy for 21st century Britain.
London has also committed to deliver substantial amounts of the
capital's energy this way.
The reports are appended for information (not printed).
17. There are limited figures on costs. However given
the threat of climate change and the likely impact on developing
countries, it has often been referred to as a moral question,
including by the new Prime Minister.
We agree it is a moral issue, and thus costs should be seen in
the same way as, for example, the costs of tackling racism in
the workplace or the costs of providing a minimum wage or decent
18. The renewables sector needs to have complete confidence
in the position of the government to ensure the investment in
the industry required to ensure the growth required to enable
the UK to meet the 20% target. Current support for a new generation
of nuclear and coal fired power stations will undermine the future
investment in the renewables industry, as stated by Patricia Hewitt
on 24 February 2003 in a statement accompanying the 2003 Energy
"It would have been foolish to announce, as the hon Gentleman
apparently wanted us to do, that we would embark on a new generation
of nuclear power stations because that would have guaranteed that
we would not make the necessary investment and effort in both
energy efficiency and in renewables..."
19. The figures we present here for renewable energy
supply are indicative. Equally, the policies required to deliver
this level of renewable energy would need to be worked out by
a thorough study.
20. A full audit of supporting policies is required,
and two of the documents Greenpeace submitted to the 2006 Energy
Review dealing with reform to the electricity market and the Renewables
Obligation are attached. But what is apparent is that the current
ideology and market framework are wholly inadequate to the task.
A revolution in the way we think about energy and the importance
of inserting new and renewable technologies into the market are
manifest. Nothing in the Energy White Paper is remotely near to
the task in hand. And a few dodgy nuclear power stations will
barely make much difference, even accepting their huge downsides.
21. Just one example is the Renewables Obligation. It
would need to be raised to (at least) over 30% by 2020 to meet
the EU target. Nothing remotely like this is on the table. Microgenerators
are not appropriately rewarded. There is no regulatory framework
or support for renewable heat. There are no guarantees that biofuels
will not make greenhouse gas emissions worse not better.
22. These policies need to deal with the market pull
for renewable technologiesusing existing, viable technologies.
Additional R&D for eg deployment and grid issues, could be
funded through the Energy Technologies Institute. It is important
that this new organisation has an open, transparent and publicly-participatory
decision-making process in terms of the financial allocation process.
Half of the money is being supplied by public funds. It would
be inappropriate for those funds to entrench the competitive position
of the donating companies. A revolution is needed in our energy
supply and useit mayor may notbe something
that those companies are best place to take advantage of.
14 http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/files/pdfs/migrated/MultimediaFiles/Live/FullReport/7759.pdf Back
15 http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/files/pdfs/migrated/MultimediaFiles/Live/FullReport/7753.pdf Back
17 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk-politics/4932988.stm Back