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Industry welcomes SDC tidal power report but warns that regulatory policy must change
Submitted: 28 September 2007
The Renewable Energy Association welcomes further consideration of the Severn Tidal Barrage.
This barrage could provide a sizeable injection of renewable energy into our system at a time when we need all the renewables we can muster.

“Government must remember, however, that if this project were to proceed and deliver 5% of our electricity output, this would still represent only 1% of gross energy consumption – a small fraction of the 20% the EU has adopted as the target for 2020,” said Philip Wolfe, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association.

“It is also important that any incentives or regulatory concessions given to the barrage are applied equally to other renewable energy projects.”

The Renewables Obligation, scheduled to finish in 2027, would probably need to be extended to enable the Severn Barrage to benefit from the ROC regime and so raise the required funding. The same applies to all other renewable energy projects and this is starting to become an issue for large-scale projects now being planned for the next decade.

Under current government plans, other offshore renewables are required to pay the costs of decommissioning after 20 years in much the same way that oil installations must be decommissioned. But unlike oilfields, the energy does not deplete, and there is no such requirement to decommission hydropower projects, rail infrastructure or the channel tunnel for example. It would be appropriate therefore to exempt offshore renewables, and any barrage, from this requirement.

This project would come under the remit of the Infrastructure Planning Committee (IPC), rather than the local authorities concerned. The REA believes that renewable energy projects should be considered as a generic infrastructure programme, and so also be able to obtain consent from the IPC. At the moment endless time is wasted repeating old arguments at the local level.

Stephanie Merry, the REA’s Head of Marine Power said “The beauty of other renewables projects is that they are modular, can be developed quickly, so can deliver their carbon savings in a short time scale, and on a decentralised basis. If the Government does not bring down the barriers so these relatively easy projects can be developed, what confidence can we have that a large project like the barrage can be achieved successfully?”

The Renewable Energy Association wants to see renewable energy projects of all scales progressed. Whilst welcoming the Government’s enthusiasm for the Severn Barrage, we cannot let it take its eye off the ball when it comes to the rest of the industry. The playing field must be kept level.

Finally, of course, we accept that people will need to be satisfied that any adverse local effects of the barrage are more than outweighed by the positive benefits.

Read the REA Press Release below

Read the full SDC report by folwing the link.

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 Associated File(s)
REA Press Release - SDC Tidal Power Report
070928SDCTidalPowerReport.pdf Download Acrobat ReaderDownload Acrobat Reader 

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