Ambitious plans to increase renewable energy targets form a key part of an energy-centric manifesto released by the coalition Government today.
Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched The Coalition: Our Programme for Government this morning (20 May), which demonstrates their increased focus on advancing renewable energy infrastructure in the UK.
Currently, EU energy targets state that the UK must produce 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. However, at the moment only 2% of UK energy is produced from renewables. The manifesto document states that the coalition “will seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee”. It is not yet clear by how much it intends to increase these targets by.
Renewable Obligation Certificates are safe under the new manifesto, a policy which goes against that set out in the Conservative Party Energy document prior to the general election.
Another significant proposal is to introduce measures to promote a “huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion”, a policy clearly laid out in the Liberal Democrat pre-election manifesto to support their wish for a “zero-waste” society. In turn, the coalition document has confirmed the new Government will work towards a “zero waste” economy by encouraging householders to recycle with incentive schemes – an idea favoured by the Conservative Party. However, energy from waste through incineration was not mentioned, something which anti-incineration activists have called for more clarity on.
Agreement on policy from both parties is demonstrated by the proposal to encourage “community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit from the power produced”, something which Clegg and and Cameron had both mentioned in their respective manifestos. The creation of a Green Investment Bank (GIB) is also fully supported by both parties. The Conservative pre-election document stated that the GIB will “draw together money currently divided across existing Government initiatives, leveraging private sector capital to finance new green technology start-ups”.
The Infrastructure Planning Commission will be abolished under the new Government, to be replaced by “an efficient and democratically accountable system that provides a fast track process for major infrastructure projects”. Furthermore, the planning system will be “radically” reformed in order to give neighbourhoods more say about developments in their areas. Plans also include the wish to “create a presumption in favour of sustainable development in the planning system”. However, it is not clear whether this means ‘green’ plants will be looked upon favourably as part of the planning system.
Key Industry Manifesto Points:
- Increase the target for energy from renewable sources
- Maintain ROCs and establish a full system of feed-in tariffs in electricity
- Introduce measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through AD
- Create a Green Investment Bank
- Encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes
- Abolish the IPC
- Work towards a “zero waste” society
- Encourage councils to pay people to recycle