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RPA panel gives evidence to S&T Select Committee 12/06/2003 15:25:56
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A panel assembled by the Renewable Power Association gave evidence yesterday to the Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry “Towards a Non-Carbon Fuel Economy: Research, Development and Demonstration.”

The key points made by the panel, comprising Dr Tony Trapp of the Engineering Business, Philip Wolfe of Intersolar Group, Dr Andrew Garrad of Garrad Hassan and Partners, John Acton of Compact Power and Dr Nigel Brandon of Imperial College/Ceres Power, included;

  • R&D funding fails to follow through once technologies approach commercialisation and opportunities for UK industry to capitalise on the results can be lost.
  • Spreading R&D funding too thinly fails to achieve results. An element of picking winners is therefore essential.
  • Consistency of the market is a key factor in establishing an industry and growing capacity. Renewable targets must continue to grow over the next 20 – 30 years.
  • A failure of current policy is that technologies at different stages of commercialisation are forced to compete against each other.
  • The scale of growth required to meet the targets is massive. Current offshore wind proposals should be an order of magnitude greater in scale.
  • The PIU target of 20% of renewables by 2020 is achievable provided adequate funding and policies are implemented.
  • Infrastructure development is a key factor if large amounts of RE are to be integrated into the electricity supply network. R&D along with a change of mindset among network operators is required.
  • The UK missed the boat in establishing a wind energy industry. R&D funding needs to be more effective if fuel cells and PV are not to follow suit.
  • The UK has the potential to lead the world in wave and tidal energy. Although currently some 15 years behind wind, it must not take 15 years to catch up.
  • Wave and tidal devices need to be tested at sea and deliver results soon. The focus should be on delivery rather than academic research.
  • Serious skills gaps exist, particularly in chemical and process engineering at graduate and post-grad level.
  • RE companies face difficulty in recruiting experienced candidates. Tailored renewable energy courses are beginning to achieve results – with CREST singled out as a success.
  • Terrific levels of enthusiasm are seen among bright young candidates keen to enter this dynamic growth industry.
  • The Panel was requested to follow up with supplementary statements on their respective technologies’ contributions over a 2020 timescale.
Associated File(s)
Press release/6th Nov evidence session.pdf Download Acrobat ReaderDownload Acrobat Reader 
Related Web Site(s)
Science and Technology Committee Report "TOWARDS A NON CARBON FUEL ECONOMY R,D&D
The Government's Response to the Committee's report
 Click here for related information
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