A National Grid report, which states that the UK is very likely to miss its EU 2020 targets for renewable energy use, has been responded to by Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
“This confirms that the recent cut in renewable energy subsidies, as well as the lack of clear policy to encourage low-carbon technologies, has led to a drop in investment in renewable energy.
“Previous subsidies generated many new renewables projects, many of which are still coming online. These projects have led to an over generation of electricity on the grid at the wrong times, when demand is low, and this has yet to be balanced in an efficient or affordable way.
“New technologies that influence electricity generation and grid management are rapidly developing and it is vital that both the Government and National Grid plan for the consequences of these new technologies.
As a country we do not want to pay for the delivery of stranded assets whether renewable or non-renewable.
“While this renewable target is a good driver to encourage investment, the key issue is for the UK to meet its ambitious carbon reduction target, which cannot be done by relying on current renewable technologies alone. The UK needs to look to switch to generating electricity from low-carbon fossil fuels such as gas and nuclear power and invest into research and development of the next generation of low carbon technologies and improved technologies around transport and heat as well as the management of radioactive wastes. Greater investment in the development of electricity storage technologies in particular could be key to allowing a greater proportion of electricity to be generated from renewable sources.
“The UK Government needs to urgently clarify the country’s energy policies and regulations to provide developers with the certainty needed to invest in particular technologies, such as electricity storage.”