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The Guardian: Energy policy attacked

The Guardian: Energy policy attacked

Terry Macalister

Thursday July 15, 2004

The government could fall 40% short of its target of ensuring that a tenth of Britain’s electricity is generated by renewable energy sources by 2010, according to a scathing report by a House of Lords body published today.

The science and technology committee, chaired by Shell Transport chairman Lord Oxburgh, said it could not avoid the conclusion “that the government are not taking energy problems sufficiently seriously”.

It deplored the minimal sums of public cash going into research and development of renewable energy sources, pointing out that they were less than a twentieth of that spent in the US.

The committee singled out the Ministry of Defence for criticism, saying that some of its arguments around new wind farm developments were “extraordinary” and “implausible”.

Lord Oxburgh calls for more cash incentives for the renewables industry and concludes: “The government seems to believe that market forces alone will prevent the lights going out – we’re not so sure.”

The committee was following up last year’s white paper which outlined a path to secure the country’s energy future while also creating a low carbon economy.

The committee said a range of difficulties had been unearthed, adding damningly that it “found almost no one outside government who believed the white paper targets were likely to be achieved”.

To break various logjams there needed to be: a minister with sole responsibility for energy, greater long-term stability in renewable electricity prices, a reopening of the debate on the potential of large-scale tidal power, a more sympathetic framework for biomass generation, better incentives for small-scale generation, coordination and planning the development of renewable projects.,3604,1261453,00.html

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