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Waiting for the RO banding review

REA is on tenterhooks for the RO Banding Review consultation which will set out proposed levels of support for different renewable power from 2013.

The UK’s 15% renewable energy target requires 30% of electricity to be renewable by 2020. Given current uncertainties on renewable heat and transport biofuels, it is critical that the government gets renewable power right.

DECC announced an early timetable for the banding review to provide greater investor certainty. The consultation had been expected before the summer recess, but is now expected in early September.

This is the crucial opportunity for government to provide investor certainty and show commitment to new technologies. The biomass technologies which were stalled by the ‘grandfathering’ question, expect to remain at current support levels.

Landfill gas has stalled on 1/4ROC and needs reinstating to 1 ROC. Wave, tidal, deep geothermal and solar are on tenterhooks to see if the UK Government will move beyond its historic 2ROC support limit, finally allowing these technologies to take-off. 

REA’s key concern is ensuring the support levels (‘bands’) of the RO are right for each technology.  Concerns were exacerbated in some areas by ARUP’s cost assessment input into DECC.   We co-ordinated an industry response to ARUPs report where bioliquids, energy-from-waste, solar and CHP generators felt the study did not accurately represent their technologies.

With the relentless political focus on cost cutting and consumer anxiety around rocketing energy bills (due to fossil fuel price hikes) there will doubtless be pressures to pursue today’s cheapest technologies and potentially to cut some current support levels.

It is vital and sensible to resist those pressures and to take a longer-term view in the UK’s best economic interests. The delay may reflect those debates playing out.  We will find out how committed the Coalition Government is to diverse renewable power technologies shortly.   

Leonie Greene, Renewable Energy Association

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