Article

Green energy feels the chill in harsh economic climate

The amount invested in British renewable energy schemes, including wind, solar and wave power, fell from £377 million during the first three months of last year to £79 million during the same period this year, according to figures from New Energy Finance, a research group that monitors industry trends. The figures have raised fresh questions over the Government's ability to fulfil its pledge to slash Britain's carbon emissions and produce more than one third of the country's electricity from green energy by 2020.

As companies make big cuts to investments in renewable energy, time is running out for Britain to take action to meet its targets on reducing carbon emissions

Britain's wind energy industry increased its call for state aid yesterday, after new figures showed that investment in the sector has collapsed by nearly 80 per cent.

The amount invested in British renewable energy schemes, including wind, solar and wave power, fell from 377 million during the first three months of last year to 79 million during the same period this year, according to figures from New Energy Finance, a research group that monitors industry trends. The figures have raised fresh questions over the Government's ability to fulfil its pledge to slash Britain's carbon emissions and produce more than one third of the country's electricity from green energy by 2020.

Adam Bruce, the chairman of the British Wind Energy Association, (BWEA), said that the figures reflected the need for the Chancellor to introduce new measures to support the industry, which is struggling to secure finance because of the credit crunch. It is also suffering from the weak pound, which has driven up the cost of turbines and other equipment - most... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

As companies make big cuts to investments in renewable energy, time is running out for Britain to take action to meet its targets on reducing carbon emissions

Britain's wind energy industry increased its call for state aid yesterday, after new figures showed that investment in the sector has collapsed by nearly 80 per cent.

The amount invested in British renewable energy schemes, including wind, solar and wave power, fell from £377 million during the first three months of last year to £79 million during the same period this year, according to figures from New Energy Finance, a research group that monitors industry trends. The figures have raised fresh questions over the Government's ability to fulfil its pledge to slash Britain's carbon emissions and produce more than one third of the country's electricity from green energy by 2020.

Adam Bruce, the chairman of the British Wind Energy Association, (BWEA), said that the figures reflected the need for the Chancellor to introduce new measures to support the industry, which is struggling to secure finance because of the credit crunch. It is also suffering from the weak pound, which has driven up the cost of turbines and other equipment - most of which is produced outside Britain - and the falling price of coal, oil and gas.

There were signs yesterday that the Government was considering the inclusion of measures in the April 22 Budget to prevent the cancellation of large projects such as the London Array, a £3 billion scheme to build the world's largest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary, which Gordon Brown has backed.

Related Links
Green energy projects may never be turned on
CASE STUDY: Village split by battle of the blades
Spinning in the Wind
Its developers are already seeking a bailout from the European Investment Bank to allow the scheme to proceed. Its 341 turbines would produce enough electricity for 750,000 homes.

Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, one of Britain's "big six" energy companies and one of the project's backers, told The Times he now thought that it would be impossible for the country to meet its target of generating 15 per cent of total energy from renewable sources by 2020, which amounts to 35 per cent of its electricity. The target is a key part of Britain's promise to cut its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

Lord Smith of Finsbury, chairman of the Environment Agency, said that it was crucial to Britain's future in the renewables sector that more funding, including public funding, was made available. "We've already seen some companies pull out. We will see more of these things happening if we don't improve the funding," he said. "Over the past 10-15 years we have tended to come too late to the table, as a country, when it comes to the development of renewable energy."

Although investment in renewable energy has been falling everywhere in the recession, the British decline was unusually steep. Globally, investment fell by 53 per cent to £9.1 billion in the first three months of this year, compared with £19.3 billion at the start of last year, according to New Energy Finance. Delays securing planning consent and access to the national grid have compounded the problems.

The news comes as the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) prepares to publish a report next week that will warn that Britain must act now if it is to take the opportunity to build a thriving offshore wind energy industry that could employ as many as 70,000 people. The institute said that only 700 people were employed in the sector at present.

The BWEA is calling on Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, to introduce incentives and grants to support the industry in the Budget. It also urged the Government to accelerate planning decisions and reduce the cost to developers of hooking up schemes to the national grid.

Some companies, such as BP and Shell, have already left the wind industry, while others, such as Iberdrola Renovables, the world's largest wind-farm operator, have cut their investment programmes.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said that Mike O'Brien, the Energy Minister, was exploring options to help the industry.


Source: http://www.timesonline.co.u...

APR 12 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19785-green-energy-feels-the-chill-in-harsh-economic-climate
back to top