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Coalition urged to end confusion over renewables incentives

Engineers this week urged ministers to end confusion about incentives for renewable energy.

The new coalition government has appeared to back an obligation on power companies to use renewables, while also supporting the use of financial incentives for using them.

The Conservatives had initially vowed to ditch the renewables obligation in favour of feed-in tariffs, which Labour had introduced for smaller scale renewable schemes.

Under the renewables obligation, energy distributors must generate or buy a proportion of their electricity from renewable sources.

During the election campaign the Tories had said they would replace this with feed in-tariffs, under which renewable power generators would get a premium for their electricity.

Hiatus fears

Engineers and green groups warned that this change of policy could have resulted in a funding hiatus as developers came to terms with the new funding mechanism (NCE 6 May).

The coalition has now pledged to maintain the renewables obligation as well as fully implementing the feed-in tariff system, causing further confusion.

Renewable Energy Association chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said the coalition agreement lacked detail and called for further clarification.

Offshore favoured

Ministers will give offshore energy a higher weighting under the renewables obligation. This will enable power companies to earn more from distibuting offshore renewables than from onshore renewables.

“We need to see a very clear renewables obligation at this critical time for investment”

Paul Stapleton

But cost consultant EC Harris’ head of energy Paul Stapleton also said the coalition should do more to encourage offshore wind power.

“We need to see a very clear renewables obligation - and at this critical time for investment, this should be high priority,” he said.

Readers' comments (5)

  • CHARLES ROBERTS

    Which Engineers?

    You quote the Renewable Energy Association [trade association with an agenda?] and E C Harris [quantity surveyors]. Where and who are the "engineers" who are urging the coalition government to end confusion?

    This is merely a repeat of an earlier article, last week, and gives no new information. It is once again part of the NCE/ICE policy to promote only one part of the energy debate.

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  • This use of the collective term 'Engineers' urging, being concerned, pushing coalition government etc etc is getting beyond a joke. This is about the fourth use of 'Engineers' lobbying for soemthing green in the last 4 weeks. Since when did a Renewable Energy Association and EC Harris become Engineers? It's beginning to look as though NCE has some sort of sinister green agenda for reasons which are not at all clear or transparent. What the hell is going on?

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  • I question the whole concept of enhanced subsidies for renewables under feed it tarriffs (FIT's) and the requirements regarding tradeable Renewable Obligastion Certificates (ROC's).

    We are repeating the folly of nuclear powered generation whereby suppliers were required to buy a proportion of their electricity at 6p/kWh from the nuclear companies when they could produce their own at 3p/kWh.

    Under FIT's the generation tarriffs are Photo Volatic 41.3p/kWh, Wind 34.5p/kWh and Hydro 19.9p/kWh plus an extra on each of these of 3p/kWh if the power is exported to the grid With the current retail tarriff at, say, 12p/kWh, are we daft?

    In England there are around 300 years reserves of coal at Selby. In Scotland there are 1000 years reserves at Cannonbie completely untouched. The way forward is Carbon Capture Sequestration and Storage (CCSS).

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  • This use of the collective term 'Engineers' urging, being concerned, pushing coalition government etc etc is getting beyond a joke. This is about the fourth use of 'Engineers' lobbying for soemthing green in the last 4 weeks. Since when did a Renewable Energy Association and EC Harris become Engineers? It's beginning to look as though NCE has some sort of sinister green agenda for reasons which are not at all clear or transparent. What the hell is going on?

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  • I've been following the NCE posts about renewables, it looks to me that the editors have already taken part refending the Renewables Obligation rather than the Feed-in Tariffs. This is concerning because a formal and deep debate about the real implications is necessary to talk in the name of the 'engineers', it is not possible to use the ICE's name to pursue a hidden agenda, even if it is a good one. I would like an open and frank discussion about these matters, personally I favor the Feed-in tariffs as this system opens the renewables market to smaller players and fair competence, rather than having the same giants fighting to get a bigger market share.
    RCeng
    http://renewables-civilengineering.blogspot.com/

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