Supplementary memorandum from the Institution
of Engineering & Technology
A1. This addendum addresses the new questions
posed by the IUS Committee or points to where the answers are
to be found within the IET's previous evidence (memorandum 39).
A2. References in this Addendum refer to
paragraph numbers within the IET's evidence to the House of Commons
Science and Technology Committee submitted in July 2007.
The current state of UK research and development
in, and the deployment of, renewable electricity-generation technologies
A3. Please refer to paragraphs 510
and Table 1.
A4. As the UK has some of the best renewable
resources (wind and marine) in the world plus a very strong research
base, we ought to be able to use this as leverage to grow the
renewables sector in the UK. Much of the research being carried
out here is not delivering outputs directly to UK manufacturing
industry because that sector is weak. The UK should be able to
add more value by working more closely with international partners.
There would seem to be an opportunity to market our research capabilities
A5. In terms of technology areas, the UK
should avoid replicating research carried out in other parts of
the world, but should focus on adding value where it is best positioned
and on resolving the local integration of global technologies.
The UK remains a leading player in electrical systems design and
operations, and exploits this overseas through UK consultancies.
Support should thus be targeted at this area and those technologies
where the UK has actual or potential industrial capability or
can demonstrate a unique advantage, such as marine power. (from
bullet 1 of para 17)
A6. Government needs to be more successful
at leveraging support from the private sector and developing international
partnerships for demonstration projects, particularly in the case
of large scale capital intensive technologies which have the potential
to make a significant impact (eg wave and tidal technologies).
Demonstration is costly and will only make an impact on the total
UK and global position if it is undertaken on a significant scale,
and followed by full-scale roll-out. The resources required will
be substantial particularly for large scale technologies, but
there is scope for sharing them with the private sector and international
partners under the right arrangements. (from para 21)
A7. See also Paragraphs 18 and 19.
Public funding, and other support, for the development
of renewable electricity-generation technologies and incentives
for technology transfer
A8. Please refer to paragraphs 11-24.
The establishment and role of the Energy Technologies
A9. The resources required will be substantial
particularly for large scale technologies, but there is scope
for sharing them with the private sector and international partners
under the right arrangements. The Energy Technologies Institute
and the Environmental Transformation Fund announced in recent
Budget rounds could provide the basis for such arrangements. It
is disappointing that several months after their respective announcements,
the arrangements and funding for these institutions remain largely
unknown to industry at large. Parliament should monitor their
development and seek to ensure that they fulfil their promised
roles. (from para 21 of the IET's July submission)
Commercialising renewable technologies
A10. Please refer to paragraphs 8-10.
Intermittency of supply and connection with the
A11. A considerable amount of work has been
done to assess the impact of an increasing contribution from intermittent
generation. We understand that National Grid has expressed confidence
that it can continue to operate the system securely at much higher
penetrations than we have today. However, we believe that measures
should be put in place, to ensure that the actual impact of intermittent
generation should be carefully monitored as its contribution increases.
This will provide invaluable feedback and much better understanding
of the complex interactions between intermittent generation and
the total system. It should help to identify any unexpected challenges
before they become material.
A12. Of particular importance is the provision
of reserve generating capacity to respond to the fluctuations
in output from intermittent generation. This generation is almost
certain to be fossil-fired and its use can only reduce the environmental
benefits that renewable generation brings. It may well be that
the case for energy storage and demand side management strengthens
considerably in the next few years and the UK should be in a position
to develop and exploit solutions such as these in readiness.
Government policy towards enabling existing technologies
to meet targets
A13. The technology banding regime proposed
in the Energy White Paper was designed to encourage newer technologies
to come to market, whilst reducing the rewards to certain existing
technologies that are close to being competitive without further
support. The key area here is offshore wind, as this is expected
to make the largest contribution to achievement of targets, and
the proposed level of support is 1.5 ROCs/MWh, compared to 1.0
ROCs/MWh for onshore wind.
A14. We believe the response of developers
to offshore wind is showing the emerging maturity of this sector,
but that a number of problems and risks remain, for example turbine
reliability, costs and supply chain availability, and the challenges
of large scale deployment offshore. Some of these may improve
with time (eg offshore turbine reliability) as learning takes
place, but other risks could increase, for example construction
and operational risk in ever deeper waters.
A15. We recommend therefore that particular
attention is given to the proposed arrangements set out in paragraph
5.3.39 of the White Paper to review the banding arrangements in
a transparent way.
A16. Please see in addition paragraph 13
of the IET's July 2007 submission.
Whether the UK has the skills base to underpin
the development of renewable technology
A17. Government must ensure that policies
designed to promote renewables do not founder on a lack of skills
to implement them. There will need to be a steady supply of a
skilled workforce to devise, design, install and maintain renewable
technologies as they come forward. There is currently significant
concern on the part of employers that the supply of skills will
not be adequate or suitable in coming years to meet their demand
for technical personnel. This concern extends to all levels of
education and qualification, from technicians to experienced professional
engineers and advanced researchers.
Government will need to keep a watching brief on developments
in this area in partnership with industry, and be prepared to
intervene if necessary. (paragraph 23 of the IET's July 2007
204 For a review of recent surveys, see Energy Research
Partnership (2007) Investigation into High Level Skills Shortages
in the Energy Sector: http://www.energyresearchpartnership.co.uk/files/ERP-Skills-Brochure.pdf Back