EEF sceptical over government energy targets

Posted on 9 May 2011 by The Manufacturer

UK manufacturers risk a competitive disadvantage if the government does not reconsider its position on renewable energy targets for the next 20 years, says Steve Radley of manufacturers' organisation EEF.

The Committee on Climate Change publishes a review of renewable energy today which says that even by 2030 most renewable energy technologies are likely to remain more expensive than other forms of low-carbon generation, such as nuclear energy.

EEF will call for a rethink on targets set out by the government to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decrease emissions. Arguing for a more varied range of energy sources, the manufacturer’s organisation said that while renewables should play a growing part, nuclear power and a more positive approach to carbon capture and energy efficient was needed to avoid a huge rise in the price of energy. Such a rise would place the UK at a competitive disadvantage according to representatives of EEF. Plans to build more nuclear power plants are likely to be met with opposition from the public after the recent events in Japan.

In response to the report, Steve Radley said: “The Committee has made an informed and balanced assessment, which reinforces one of the central dilemmas of climate policy. Namely, how can we cut emissions without unnecessarily harming consumers or undermining the international competitiveness of UK industry?”

“Renewables must play a growing role in our energy mix and we need the right policies to ensure that this happens. But we need to ask if the 2020 renewable energy target is leading us down the wrong path. The previous government signed up to the target without careful consideration of the alternatives. This report provides the perfect opportunity for the current one to reconsider its merits,” he said.