UK Energy Secretary vows “no change” to government policy on renewables

Posted at November 2, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK Energy Secretary vows “no change” to government policy on renewables

UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey hit back at comments from colleague John Hayes, who has been quoted as saying that “enough is enough” on onshore wind development.

In a statement, Davey asserted:
“There has been no change to government policy on renewable energy, as agreed by the Coalition.”

He said the government expects to reach its 2020 target of producing 30% of all UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

“We’ve put in place support to bring on growth in new industries to deploy the technologies needed to diversify our energy mix in the most cost effective way. There are no targets – or caps – for individual renewable technologies such as onshore wind. Nor are there reviews being done of onshore wind on the basis of landscape or property values.”

Davey’s categorical rebuttal of Hayes’ comments reveals a deep divide in the cabinet over renewables technologies and particularly onshore wind.

The renewables industry itself has said it is “shocked and concerned” over the quotes in the Telegraph and Daily Mail newspapers that Hayes wants to see the end of wind farms being “peppered around the country”.

Hayes comments have emerged the day after he addressed the RenewableUK conference in Glasgow with a rousing speech in favour of the industry.

“It comes as some surprise that the new Minister has said one thing to us and another to the press,” says RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith. “We are on the eve of the publication of the Energy Bill, a crucial time for energy policy, with huge investment decisions to be made that will lead to tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade. If we are to see these jobs and investment realised confidence must be retained and that means consistency.”

Recent surveys have found the British public supportive of wind farm development, both on- and offshore, in defiance of Tory back – and sometimes front – bench opposition. Davey says that what the government do want to do is ensure that onshore wind development is done with local communities in mind and feel the benefits of hosting wind farms.

“Onshore wind is one of the cheapest renewables, which is why we’ve been able to cut the subsidy. It has an important role to play in our energy future,” he affirmed.

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Related stories:
British public want more wind farms, according to poll (23-Oct)
Peel Energy’s Cheshire wind farm gets the go ahead (22-Oct)
UK’s onshore wind capacity hits 5 GW milestone (24-Sept)
New UK Energy Minister promises to bring Energy Bill into law (6-Sept)

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