UK renewables target is achievable, says government advisor

Posted at May 12, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK renewables target is achievable, says government advisor

Bernie Balkin, chair of the UK government’s Office of Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED), told an audience in London yesterday that the country’s 2020 target of 15% renewable energy is achievable.

While the target is challenging for the UK, which is among the European nations with the lowest proportion of renewable energy, the UK is on course to make its interim 2012/2013 targets for renewables, he said.

ORED was set up by the Coalition under the auspices of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to bring together expertise from across the whole department to oversee the rollout of renewables.

According to Balkin, who was formerly chief scientists at BP, the ORED team will “work with industry to remove the barriers” to renewables deployment and drive down costs.

But realising the UK’s 15% target will depend on focusing on the issue that matter most, he says.

Balkin believes the top priority for the UK will be to focus on large, multimegawatt projects. But with most of the best onshore wind locations already in operation, under construction, approved or in planning, this will mean a switch of emphasis to offshore wind.

Here costs are of paramount concern, he says, and ORED has created a task force to look specifically at driving down the costs of offshore wind across the board from manufacturing to logistics to installation.

But backing up the delivery of new renewable capacity will have to be a concerted focus on demand side management and moving ahead with great energy efficiency across the board.

Despite the commitment to a major expansion of offshore wind in the latter part of the decade under The Crown Estate’s Round 3 leasing programme, Balkin admits that gas will have to fill the gap in the meantime.

“We are going to be dependent on gas for sometime… [as] a step on the way to a lower carbon future,” he told the meeting in London. “We are not going to get there without gas.”

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Related stories:
UK gives go ahead for Vattenfall’s 299 MW Welsh wind farm (8-May)
Scottish Government gives go ahead to Shetland’s Viking wind farm (5-Apr)
Co-ordinating offshore wind development could save £3.5 billion (2-Mar)
UK government reiterates support for wind power (28-Feb)

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