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The government today announced proposals to boost financial support ...
The government today announced proposals to boost financial support

for the development of renewable energy, and enable millions of

consumers to 'go green'.

The proposals to raise the level of the renewables obligation -

governing how much energy suppliers must provide from green power -

beyond 2010-11, to 2015-16, are expected to lead to the development

of enough renewable energy to power up to three million additional homes.

Energy minister Stephen Timms told renewable industry representatives

he had 'listened and responded' to their concerns about the levels of

investor confidence in renewables, which some feared might threaten

the future of the sector.

Speaking to the first annual meeting of the renewables advisory

board, Mr Timms announced the government would increase the level of

the RO in stages, for five more years beyond 2010-11.

Mr Timms said: 'We have responded to the calls of the renewable

sector to give stability beyond 2010. In giving an increased level of

certainty to the renewables industry, we are providing the ingredients

for more confidence on the part of the investment sector. The

government has listened and responded. Our 'big conversation' has

produced results.

'I am now looking to the industry to respond. We need to get those

developments with consents and capital grants built as soon as

possible if we are to meet our renewables targets, and to sustain and

create more jobs in the UK.'

The minister admitted that there were 'formidable challenges' ahead,

if the government's targets on renewable energy were to be met. The

energy white paper, published in February, committed the UK to

generating 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010,

with the aspiration of doubling that percentage by 2020.

'Achieving these targets is far from straightforward and will not be

plain sailing,' said Mr Timms. 'But we must not lose sight of the

rewards. As well as making a significant contribution to reducing

carbon emissions, increasing the contribution of renewables offers

the prospect of developing a significant UK industry, creating jobs

and developing world class companies able to compete for the growing

renewables business both here and overseas.'

The level of the RO was 3% when it was introduced last year. It now

stands at 4.3%, and will increase each year to reach 10.4% in

2010-11. It will now increase beyond 2010-11 as follows:

2011-12: 11.4%

2012-13: 12.4%

2013-14: 13.4%

2014-15: 14.4%

2015-16: 15.4%

Today's announcement was hailed by industry as proof the government

was 'serious' about meeting the renewable energy targets outlined in

the energy white paper in February.

Marcus Rand, chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association

said: 'This is a wonderful early Christmas present for the UK wind

and renewables industry. We are delighted that the government has

listened to advice and acted so decisively by significantly

increasing the nation's renewables target. It is the icing on the

cake of a great year for wind energy. We will now go forward into the

New Year with a massive boost of confidence behind us. Today's

announcement will be seen as a key stepping stone to making our 20%

by 2020 renewable aspiration a working reality.'

Philip Wofle, chief executive of the Renewable Power Association

said: 'We have advised successive energy ministers that raising the RO

quotas was essential to encourage the £10bn of new investment needed.

We congratulate Stephen Timms and his officials on this timely

response, which will greatly increase the likelihood of meeting the

government's ambitious targets for renewables.'

And Alan Moore, managing director of National Wind Power, which

opened the UK's first major offshore wind farm, at North Hoyle, last

month, said: 'This is very good news for the wind industry. The ability

to assess the value of rene wable electricity for a further five years

will increase industry confidence when making long-term investment

decisions. Perhaps more importantly, it is a clear sign that the

government is serious about its aspiration of achieving 20% by 2020.'


1. Renewables Obligation

Introduced in April 2002, the RO calls on all licensed electricity

suppliers in England & Wales to supply a specified and growing

proportion of their electricity sales from a choice of eligible

renewable sources. The RO is the key policy mechanism by which the

government is encouraging the growth necessary to reach the UK's

renewable energy targets. Individual suppliers are responsible for

demonstrating that compliance to the energy regulator Ofgem, through

a system of renewables obligation certificates. In order to

provide a stable and long-term market for renewable energy, the

obligation will remain in place until 2027. Yearly targets had

already been set up to the 2010/2011 period.

2. The energy white paper was published on 24 February 2003 and can

be found on the DTI website at

3. Renewables Advisory Board

The minister was launching the first report of the renewables

advisory board, set up to bring industry and government together to

promote the deployment of renewable energy in the UK. It has

established working groups to address the key themes in the advance

of renewables: communication; finance and investment; connection to

the grid; innovation; jobs; and planning. Copies of the report are

available from the DTI website:

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