Boost for renewable energy as major lobbying group backs low-carbon energy policy

The UK’s renewable energy sector has been given a boost after one of the UK’s largest energy lobbying groups has switched its support away from fossil fuels to low-carbon technologies.

A new report by Energy UK - which counts the UK’s Big Six energy firms among its members - confirmed support for low-carbon energy production in the UK for the first time to avoid what it dubbed “becoming the next Nokia” and called on the government to give clear signals for future investment to provide clarity for the industry.

Energy UK’s chief executive Lawrence Slade has said that the UK should adopt a similar plan to Germany’s move to a low-carbon energy supply, named Energiewende.

“It would be quite a sensible thing to have an Energiewende but the emphasis would have to be on our own version not a direct cut and paste.”

Energy UK is trade association for the UK energy industry representing over 80 suppliers and generators of electricity and gas for domestic and business consumers. Organisations interviewed for the report include EDF Energy, Centrica, GE, Siemens, SEE, Scottish Power and the National Grid. The report stressed the importance of targeted innovation funding for low-carbon technologies going forward.

The Pathways 2030 report said: “Many respondents emphasised the potential of electricity storage technology to be a ‘game changer’ in the way the UK manages its energy needs.

“In the long-run, there should be a move towards effective carbon-pricing as the basis of investment in low-carbon generation.”

Energy UK also called on the government to commit to clearer targets on renewable energy to provide ‘clarity’ for the energy industry. The report stated that one of the key concerns for interviewees was uncertaintly in the direction of travel from the government, particularly since the Department for Energy and Climate Change announced measures to scale back subsidies for solar and wind power generation.

Commenting on future off-shore energy capacity the report stated: “Government should clarify the requirements for cost reductions and how this will be brought into policy.”

The report also supported investment in new interconnector capacity between the UK and the rest of Europe to help ensure the security of energy supplies and to harmonise wholesale electricity prices between the UK and other European countries.

The Energy UK Pathways 2030 report can be found here.