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Renewables ‘too expensive’ for UK warns think tank

UK think tank Policy Exchange has poured cold water on the coalition government’s plans to overhaul the energy industry to meet emissions targets.

Britain has signed up to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, starting with a 20 per cent reduction by 2020.

Pivotal in the government’s plans is a large scale roll out of renewable, mainly wind, installations, but this, says Policy Exchange, renders the proposals fatally flawed.

It argues that an agreement to provide 15 per cent of the UK’s power by renewables by 2020 is “hugely and unnecessarily expensive”, costing too much “too achieve far too little decarbonisation”.

It urges an overhaul of the 2020 target and warns that if this does not happen, the rising cost of electricity could drive energy users overseas.

Simon Less, energy research director at Policy Exchange, told a meeting at the Labour Party Annual Conference that too much of the UK’s future energy policy hinged on predictions that were impossible to substantiate.

“No-one can have the knowledge needed to plan for the energy future,” he said. “We can’t know future gas price. Shale gas means that it is far from clear that future gas prices will be high.”

He branded the government’s Electricity Market Reform as a “return to major, detailed central planning” and warned that “its errors will not be corrected”.

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