for the future of renewable energy, reaffirming its commitment to
developing the industry, and boosting research and development to£43m over the next three years.
In a written answer to a question, Mr Battle said:
Energy - Prospects for the 21st Century' which reports on the outcome
of the government's review of new and renewable energy policy.
'The Renewables Review paper demonstrates that there is tremendous
potential for renewables to become a fully competitive part of UK
energy supply, Renewables make an important contribution to secure,
diverse and sustainable energy supplies in the UK. They are an
essential element of a cost- effective climate change programme and
will help the government meet its environmental objectives at the
least cost to the customer. Renewables play a vital role in enabling
us to meet our environmental targets of reducing greenhouse gases by
12.5% by 2012, and our goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by
20% by 2010.'
Commenting on the possibility of achieving 10% of UK electricity
needs from renewables, Mr Battle said:
'The document shows that producing 10% of UK electricity from
renewables appears to be feasible. The government intends working
towards a target of renewable energy providing 10% of UK electricity
supplies, cost effectively, as soon as possible. I want to achieve
this by 2010. However, this should not be seen as an end in itself,
but a step forward on the road to making renewables a strong,
'There are already considerable benefits of the renewables industry.
The UK industry employs 3500 people. Through creating an export
drive, and by further developing the industry and the UK market, up
to 45,000 jobs could be created.'
Mr Battle commented on the success of the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation
(NFFO) in encouraging the use of renewables. He said:
'NFFO has already provided over£600m of support for
renewables. Support for renewables under NFFO will accelerate in the
first decade of the next century and could rise to around£150m a year.
'NFFO has played a major part in stimulating the industry and
bringing down the costs of renewables. As a result of NFFO, an
industry of some 700 organisations, has been developed. This is why
the government want to see how NFFO can evolve, to see how it can
help the industry to thrive even more.
'The review document therefore presents options for possible ways to
support renewables while they are reaching market prices. It looks at
both the costs and benefits of moving towards a greater use of
renewables. In particular, it looks at options for a revised NFFO in
the competitive energy markets of the future.
'In addition, we have now agreed an increased budget for DTI's New
and Renewable Energy Support Programme. We have allocated£43.5m over the next three years for R&D tohelp achieve our aim.'
Mr Battle continued:
'The government is pressing ahead with reform - electricity
liberalisation, for instance, is giving consumers the ability to
choose their electricity supplier - including green electricity.
Suppliers are now offering green tariffs and I hope consumers will
take up this opportunity to stimulate growth in renewables.
'Solar energy also has real potential in the longer term. This is why
I recently asked for industry's involvement in taking forward three
major new photovoltaic initiatives. In addition, last year I
switched on the first solar panel system for a British school, as
part of the government's Foresight Scolar programme. I believe that
such schemes can play a valuable part in the development of the UK
'This report identifies key issues and challenges which the
government and industry would need to pursue. Issues examined in the
paper include: planning arrangements; opportunities for developing
energy crops; and arrangements to ensure that embedded generators
(those directly connected to local distribution systems, often the
case with renewables producers) receive a fair price for their
electricity. It seeks views on the issues raised to enable the
Government to frame its future policy.
'I look forward to receiving those views and plan to make a further
announcement about our way forward in due course. The government is
committed to encouraging sustainable development, to ensure a better
quality of life for us and our children.'
1. Responses on the proposals in the Renewables Review document
should be made by 28 May 1999, to Neil Hornsby, Energy Technologies
Directorate, DTI, Room 1116, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET.
2. Copies of the Review document may be obtained from DTI Publications Orderline, Admail 528, London SW1W 8YT, tel: 0870 1502500, fax: 0870 1502333, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. A separate publication on the current and future status of
renewable energy technologies has today been published by ETSU.
Copies are available from The New and Renewable Energy Enquiries
Bureau, ETSU, Harwell, Didcot, Oxon OX11 0RA. Tel 01235 433601 Fax
4. Future policies and programmes on renewables will have to be
formed in the context of a number of broader environmental, energy
and economic policies, including the government's White Paper,
'Energy Sources for Power Generation', which sets out the broad
objective of energy policy, to ensure secure, diverse and sustainable
supplies of energy at competitive prices.
5. The development and deployment of renewable energy sources
forms part of both that policy and the UK Climate Change Programme,
on which the government published a consultation document in October
1998 to stimulate a national debate on how we might meet our targets.
In addition, the government has embarked on a major programme of
reform in the electricity sector which would provide both new
opportunities and difficulties to the further deployment of
6. In November 1998, the government received the Marshall
Taskforce's report, which considered the use of economic instruments
to improve business use of energy and help reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. Following Lord Marshall's recommendations, the government
is to introduce a Climate Change Levy to encourage energy efficiency
in business. The government has made it clear that there will be an
extra£50m future support for schemes aimed at promoting
energy efficiency and support for renewables.
7. The European White Paper on renewables urges member states to
implement national strategies for the promotion of renewables with a
view to doubling the contribution of renewables to Europe's total
primary energy needs to 12% by 2010. Any further development of
renewables would need to take place within this general
environmental, energy and economic framework.
MAKING WAVES WORK: JOHN BATTLE ANNOUNCES A NEW INITIATIVE ON WAVE POWER RESEARCH
John Battle today also announced that the government is
launching a new wave power programme. Initially, the programme will
monitor the development of projects contracted under the third
Scottish Renewables Order and call for proposals for research,
development and demonstration. As part of his announcement on the
Renewables Review paper, Mr Battle said:
'New work commissioned in the course of the government's new and
renewable energy policy review and a new report by the Foresight
Marine Panel suggest that wave energy could contribute to UK energy
supplies in the longer term. Further research into wave energy is
needed to re-assess its potential and conduct the necessary RD&D
which is directly relevant to some of the more promising wave energy
technologies in order to show whether wave energy can be made
competitive. This is likely to require the testing of components and
'I therefore propose to expand the objectives of the Department's new
and renewable energy programme to include new work on wave energy
'I have always been convinced that wave energy has a place in the
future of this country's energy mix. I am pleased to see that our
analysis supports that view, and delighted that the latest Scottish
Renewable Order includes three wave energy projects.'
Mr Battle continued:
'Oceans cover three quarters of the earth's surface and represent a
large natural energy resource. If successfully developed, wave
energy might generate as much as 2,000 TWh annually worldwide. As a
first step, our renewable energy programme will assess whether wave
energy technology can be successfully developed. There is a
potential future market that the UK cannot ignore so we need to
maintain our leading edge in wave power research.
'I am pleased to be taking this first step in developing wave energy
in this country. We are well placed to develop this energy form since
much of our own shore is pounded by the NorthAtlantic. Waves around
our shores offer a theoretical resource of around 50 TWh of
electricity. We now need to try and find the keys to unlocking that
1. Ocean waves are caused by the transport of energy from winds
as they blow across the surface of the sea. The amount of energy
transferred depends upon the speed of the wind and the distance over
which it acts. As deep ocean waves suffer little energy loss, they
can travel long distances if there is no intervening land mass.
Therefore the western coastline of Europe has one of the largest wave
energy resources in the world, being able to receive waves generated
by storms throughout the Atlantic.
2. Many different technologies have been suggested to harness
this energy but wave energy technology is still widely considered to
be in the Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) stage
3. The department of trade and industry previously supported some
research into wave energy, albeit at an earlier stage in its
development - some£17m was spent on research between 1974 and 1983,
for example. A decision was taken in 1994 to complete work on wave
energy, in favour of technologies which were nearer to immediate
4. Interest in wave energy has recently been boosted by its
inclusion in the third Order under the Scottish Renewables Obligation
(SRO-3), where three projects have been awarded contracts. For
details of the SRO-3 Order, contact Eric Macleod on 0131 244 2702.
5. Work under the DTI programme will be separate from, but
complementary to, the new£3.5m per year Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)'s Renewable and New Energy
Technologies Programme, which includes more fundamental work on
marine renewable technologies. Support may require approval as a
State Aid from the European Commission.
6. The report 'Energies from the Sea: Towards 2020' (URN 99/501)
will be published by the Foresight Marine Panel on 9 April 1999.
Copies will be available from the Office of Science and Technology by
faxing a request to 0171 271 2015.