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Renewables Industry ‘holds its breath’ in anticipation
Submitted: 19 November 2007
The Renewables Industry is setting out key policy expectations after reports this morning that Gordon Brown will adhere to the 20% EU renewable energy target agreed by his predecessor. The UK renewables industry has long been frustrated by the ‘can’t do’ attitude towards renewables within the Labour Government and its timid approach to policy making for renewables.
“Gordon Brown must surely have realised that a 1% increase in renewable energy in the 10 years Labour has been in power is totally unacceptable. Needless to say we’re holding our breath in anticipation of Gordon Brown’s speech today. It is absolutely essential, if he does indeed commit to the 20% EU renewables target, that this is backed up by a major policy shift”, said Philip Wolfe, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association.

He added, “The Renewables industry has heard politicians give speeches for years on the huge value of new technology in solving climate change - but we have yet to see them deliver. We need tough choices and real leadership. Let’s hope Gordon Brown shows he understands that today.”

Key measures the Renewable Energy Association will be looking for Gordon Brown to commit to in today’s speech or shortly thereafter are;
1. An unequivocal political commitment to the UK playing as full a part as possible towards meeting the new EU 20% renewables target by 2020
2. A coherent regime for onsite renewable technologies. While large-scale technologies have at least a policy framework, onsite renewables which can deliver energy for homes, businesses and industry lack support. The REA believes a feed-in tariff could work very successfully for onsite technologies alongside the RO.
3. A re-examination of the remit of the energy regulator Ofgem which, despite the climate change crisis retains exactly the same primary remit (competition) as during the Thatcher government. This means that renewable energy (including heat) is systematically marginalised by the energy system.
In frustration at the government’s failure to offer renewables leadership the REA, in collaboration with the Royal Society of the Arts, has convened a “2020 Renewables Summit” to bring together over 50 representatives of key sectors which need to be mobilised on renewables, including some like construction and farming which have until now barely had renewables on their radar.

The REA will be commenting on Gordon Brown’s speech later today.

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