The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has criticised the energy secretary’s opposition to a EU-wide renewable energy target for 2030.
REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “Government cannot afford to continue sending out these mixed messages to renewables investors, because they will not put money into UK projects and jobs unless it is clear that there is a future for the industry beyond 2020.
“A 2030 renewables target would go a long way towards rebuilding investor confidence.”
Hartnell added that renewables have a key role to play in bridging the energy gap currently experienced by the UK.
Energy secretary Edward Davey announced DECC’s opposition to setting a EU-wide 2030 renewable energy target in a blogpost ahead of the report stage of the Energy Bill next week.
‘Inflexible and unnecessary’
The 2020 target of generating 20% of EU energy from renewables has been widely credited within the renewables sector for encouraging investment and growth.
But Davey wrote that the UK Government will “oppose a [further] renewable energy target at an EU level as inflexible and unnecessary.”
He explained that the UK will push for ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions, but EU countries should be free to “pick the [energy] mix they prefer” to achieve those targets.
He added that in the UK electricity market reforms will be the principal driver of low-carbon electricity, with the market determining the power mix.
In November last year the launch of the Energy Bill was received a mixed reception from the energy from waste sector. In general, the bill was welcomed but the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) was disappointed over the lack of the 2030 decarbonisation target in the bill, as was former environment secretary Lord Debden.
The Energy Bill had a second hearing in the House of Commons on 9 May and is set to reach the report stage on 3 and 4 June.
Delays to ‘hold back invesments’
The passage of the bill will be determined by a vote on amendments tabled to include the 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector, and could be hampered by a backbench rebellion led by Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee Tory MP Tim Yeo and his Labour committee colleague Barry Gardiner, whcih could be significantly supported by Lib Dem MPs.
The Government has said it will seek to reject any amendments to the bill.
In the latest edition of its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, Ernst & Young’s Environmental Finance Group pointed out that the Energy Bill has been progressing slowly, and that further delays in the delivering of a state framework for renewable energy in the UK will hold back investments in the sector.
Ben Warren, environmental finance leader at Ernst & Young, said: “We are at a stage where the UK is presented with a unique opportunity to become a safe harbour for renewable energy investment in Europe.
“However, competing visions and strategies within the Government about the country’s future energy mix pose serious questions amongst investors about whether we can compete for capital on a global level.”