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Renewables targets lack credibility, say energy engineers


GOVERNMENT TARGETS for replacing conventional electricity generation with renewables lack credibility and should be redrawn, leading energy engineers warned last week.

'The government needs to admit it won't achieve its 2010 targets for carbon reduction and focus instead on 2015-20, ' urged UK Energy Research Centre research director Jim Skea.

Skea was speaking at NCE's The future of energy conference last Thursday.

UK government wants to generate 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010, rising to 20% by 2020.

It has also pledged to cut CO 2 emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2012. Currently renewables account for 3.6% of UK electricity generation.

'Renewables won't contribute much, as the deployment trajectory has been nowhere near met due to problems in gaining construction permits, with transmission and the technological immaturity of offshore wind, ' Mott MacDonald energy director Simon Harrison said.

Government also wants to make the UK's energy supply more secure as the country is set to progressively lose nuclear and coal fired generating capacity forcing greater reliance on gas.

Russia's decision to squeeze European gas supplies in January highlight UK's vulnerability.

'Providing security of supply is in potential conflict with achieving CO 2 reductions.

Security of supply in the next 10 years will depend on extending the life of today's (coal and nuclear) fleet, ' said Harrison.

The government's energy policy consultation is due to end on 14 April.

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