The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has welcomed Labour party leader Ed Miliband’s commitment to decarbonising the energy mix by 2030 at the Labour party conference, but questioned how he can resolve the urgent need for investment in new low carbon generation.
Renewable Energy Association chief executive Nina Skorupska agreed with Miliband that the renewables sector is a huge opportunity for green jobs and sustainable growth.
Furthermore, she welcomed Miliband’s focus on consumer affordability since unstable gas prices have increased bills for several years.
Miliband pledged to freeze gas and electricity bills for every home and business for 20 months, should the Labour party win an election in 2015.
He said: “Your bills will be frozen, benefiting millions of families and millions of businesses.”
But Skorupska said: “The big question is: How can Labour square a major reform of the consumer energy market and a freeze on energy bills with the urgent need for investment in new low carbon generation?”
She said that such investment has already stalled while the details of the Electricity Market Reform are debated by the Government, adding “a freeze on bills must not be allowed to lead to another freeze in renewables investment.”
In May, former REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “A 2030 renewables target would go a long way towards rebuilding investor confidence.”
Last year MRW reported that a former Conservative environment minister, Tim Yeo, led a backbench rebellion against the lack of a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill - but it was quashed this summer to the disappointment of the renewables sector.
Support for renewable electricity currently accounts for £27 (2%) out of the average dual fuel household bill of £1,346, according to Ofgem figures.
The renewables industry currently supports 110,000 jobs, with the potential for 400,000 in 2020 as the industry expands to meet the UK’s 2020 target of 15% renewable energy, said the REA.