MPs attack UK green energy policy

23 July 2002 – A group of British MPs rounded on the government for its slow progress in increasing renewable energy production accusing it of putting too much emphasis on reducing electricity prices rather than considering the long-term health of the nation.

The House of Commons environmental audit committee warned that the UK is lagging behind much of the rest of Europe. Less than 3 per cent of electricity is derived from green sources, ranking Britain 13th out of the European Union’s 15 member states.

It added that wholesale planning reforms were needed to make it easier to build green energy schemes. The report is the latest to highlight Britain’s poor track record in developing clean power sources, and follows an admission by the government this year that it would not meet its interim target for renewables.

John Horam, the committee’s Tory chairman, said that Britain was unlikely to progress more than half-way towards its target of producing 10 per cent of power from renewables by 2010.

Some renewable energy companies have complained of being put out of business by new electricity trading arrangements, which have lowered the price of power by up to 40 per cent since March last year.

In its annual report published last week, industry regulator Ofgem claimed that the first year’s implementation of the New Electricity Trading Arrangements (Neta) had been a success pointing to the reduction power prices. Neta critics say that it penalises intermittent electricity production, which is more likely to be from renewable sources such as wind energy.

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