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Paterson must embrace EfW says REA

Renewable energy chiefs have made a plea to new environment secretary Owen Paterson to “embrace the waste to energy agenda” after it emerged he wants to ditch all energy subsidies.

Owen Paterson

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) called on both Paterson, left, who replaced Caroline Spelman at Defra in the Government’s reshuffle, and new energy minister John Hayes “take a good hard look at energy policy in the round”.

REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “We urge Owen Paterson to embrace the waste-to-energy agenda. 

“At present, materials which could be used to generate cheap, clean renewable energy are being exported to more enlightened countries in Europe, because we haven’t got sufficient capacity in the UK to make use of them. 

“This makes our energy objectives and renewables targets harder and more expensive to achieve.”

The statement represents a response to Paterson’s reported desire to end “all energy subsidies” and fast-track shale gas.

In May, influential blog Conservative Home said Paterson had set out a three-point action plan for economic growth during a Cabinet meeting.

The blog said he had called for:

  • Ending of all energy subsidies and then fast-tracked exploitation of shale gas
  • Exemption of all micro businesses from red tape, following the model Ronald Reagan pursued in the early 1980s
  • Review of airport policy to increase Britain’s share of global trade

Gaynor Hartnell

Hartnell, left, said: “We would be happy to meet with him [Hayes] to discuss the latest information on falling costs of renewables and increasing costs of other energy forms. We are about to embark on electricity market reform, which will see just about every form of power generation subsidised,” she said.

Hartnell added that, under pressure from Treasury to scrutinise the cost of renewables policies, DECC was becoming increasingly interventionist. 

“More and more DECC is attempting to dictate how much of each technology should be deployed. This should be left to the market, and the cheapest technologies should be encouraged to make the maximum contribution. Instead we have increasing complexity, and investors becoming more wary,” she said.

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