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AD at the “forefront” for coalition

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is an issue which is “very much at the forefront” of the coalition government’s minds, according to the Minister of State for Energy.

Speaking at an event in London organised by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), Renewable Energy; Is the UK on Track?, Charles Hendry told the audience that AD will be a key to ensuring the UK meets its EU targets on renewable energy.

The event, organised by the REA ahead of the Government having to submit its renewable energy action plan to the EU before the end of June, focused on what needed to be done to ensure the UK meets its target of 15% renewable energy by 2020.

Hendry spoke of the need to be ambitious and look to the long-term goals, not just those set for 2020. He said: “I don’t see 2020 as an endpoint. It is a staging point in a further ambitious target and we need to be looking towards 2050. 2020 is not something we reach and gasp over the finishing line, thinking we have done it. It should be part of a continuum along the way.

“We accept that we need to go further and faster when it comes to renewables and we are very much committed to doing that.”

Financing renewable technologies has been problematic in recent months particularly in relation to the issue of the absence of the grandfathering principle in relation to renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) for biomass and AD facilities.

Hendry touched on this issue saying that the results of the consultation on grandfathering would be available soon and that increased investment in renewable technology was very important to the coalition whether this be with the aid of ROCs or indeed Feed-in Tariffs as outlined in the manifesto.

He also spoke of plans for the creation of a Green Investment Bank. He said: “We will be driving forward the establishment of the Green Investment Bank to provide a much greater investment funding to the emerging technologies and industries which are going to be set up.”

All this was said just two days before Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, is due to attend his first meeting of EU Environment Ministers in Luxembourg. Likely topics which will be discussed include an EU emissions reduction target and European action on climate change.

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