Roundtable on renewables
1st June 2009
The Ecologist harnessed the power of several luminaries from the renewables world to find out why a wholly renewable future seems no closer than before.
This should be the best of times for renewable energy in the UK, so why does progress seem so glacially slow?
In many ways, this should be the best of times for the renewable energy industry: the Government has set the world’s first carbon budgets, promising steadily falling CO ² emissions; the subsidy paid to green energy generators, the Renewables Obligation, has been weighted towards emerging technologies to give new ideas a financial boost, and by 2010 we should finally see a continental-style Feed In Tariff for small-scale renewables, whereby householders get paid a guaranteed premium for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of green electricity (and, soon, heat) they produce.
So why, then, does the progress of UK renewable energy seem still to be so glacially slow? In November last year, BP announced that it was pulling all £5 billion of its renewable energy finance from UK projects in favour of the US, and in March of this year, Shell revealed plans to scale back all of its renewable investments except for biofuels.
Despite efforts to clear the logjam, there are also still nine gigawatts (GW) of potential wind power stuck in the planning system, of which some 5GW could be operational within three years if the go-ahead was given.
It was with this in mind that the Ecologist brought...
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