UK Could be world leader In renewable energy with proactive government support say MPs
A new report by MPs has urged the government to proactively promote the UK’s renewable energy sector, failing which the country could lose the advantage of being a pioneer in the industry.
The report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee concerns the future of the marine renewable sector, and points out that the UK could emerge as a top exporter of wave and tidal power equipment and expertise if the government prioritised its development.
It has recommended increasing funding and improving links between devolved government programmes. The report added that by 2050, the global renewable energy market is expected to be worth £340 billion, with Britain accounting for 20% of the business. MPs have also noted that the country is in a vantage position to become a global player because it owns seven of the eight full-scale prototype devices installed in the world.
The government has acknowledged that marine power may provide up to 27GW of capacity in the country by 2050, with the majority expected to be installed after 2020. On the other hand, industry stakeholders have expressed concerns that government plans for providing subsidies to the tidal and marine sector terminate in 2017, seriously undermining the sustainability of the sector.
With this in mind, the report has offered a number of recommendations to help ensure the UK maintains its lead role, one of them being the amount of funding support that the marine and tidal sector should be provided with beyond 2017. The ECC report has suggested that if the government sets a target of cutting marine energy cost to 14p per kWh by 2020, plenty of private investment would arise.
ECC chairman Tim Yeo noted, "Britannia really could rule the waves when it comes to marine renewable energy. We are extremely well placed to lead the world in wave and tidal technologies, which could potentially bring significant benefits in manufacturing and jobs, as well an abundant supply of reliable low-carbon electricity."
He urged the government of not repeating the mistake it made in the 1980s that saw Denmark usurping the UK’s position as the world’s top wind turbine supplier.
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