- REA say Energy Security Strategy must remove policy blockages to accelerate renewable deployment;
- Recent survey underlines sector’s preparedness for mass rollout of small, medium and large-scale projects;
- Lower energy bills, tackling climate change and the creation of high-skilled, high-wage jobs all cited as benefits;
The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has urged the Government to make the removal of policy blockages a priority in the upcoming Energy Security Strategy.
The UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technology says that the sector is prepared for a mass rollout of small, medium and large-scale projects to accelerate renewable deployment, but says that items such as improving grid connections and boosting investor confidence have to be at the top of the Government’s agenda.
In a recent industry survey conducted by the REA, nine in ten businesses indicated that they would be able to significantly increase the number of projects they could deploy in next two years if the regulatory or policy environment was improved. Across all responses, the pipeline for deploying renewable energy and clean technology projects was shown to more than double and the number of jobs to increase by around two-thirds, providing a snap shot of what the whole industry could be capable of, if supported through the Energy Security Strategy.
Proposals which could provide this catalyst include:
- Introducing an additional emergency CfD auction in the next six months and then regular six monthly CfD auctions with clear rolling timetable and sufficient budget and simplified CfD contract to support smaller projects;
- Addressing transmission and distribution grid capacity constraints to allow renewable projects to connect to the grid faster;
- Moving faster to establish a hydrogen production route to market;
- Removing restrictions from the Green Gas Support Scheme;
- Initiating an industrial fuel switching tariff to enable organisations to switch away from relying on fossil gas.
The REA say that, if the Energy Security Strategy can tackle these fundamental issues in the system, the UK can rapidly move away from fossil fuels and deliver an energy system that is ‘independent, secure and stable’.
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA):
“The Government must be bold with their Energy Security Strategy. This is a crucial moment – over the coming months the UK must rapidly move away from fossil fuels onto renewables otherwise we could continue to suffer from volatile energy prices.
“Our sector is clear: we stand ready for a mass rollout of small, medium and large-scale renewable developments if the Government are proactive in removing barriers and providing other catalysts. We could more than double the number of planned projects in the next two years and the number of jobs created would also increase by around two-thirds – the Government must seize these immense opportunities.
“If the Energy Security Strategy can tackle the fundamental issues in the system, our sector will deliver an energy system that is independent, secure and stable.”
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Notes to editors
The REA are also calling for the Energy Security Strategy to:
- Provide an effective Route to Market for all renewables: across heat, power, flexibility technologies and transport fuels it is clear that there is a lack of a clear route to market for most technologies, for example we need longer term flexibility contracts, a dedicated Geothermal Development Incentive for shovel ready geothermal projects, and for the Crown Commercial Service (or CCS, the public sector energy procurement service) to purchase only 100% renewable energy.
- Funding for Best practice Standards: There needs to be development and application of best practice guidance and standardisations across technologies.
- To ease planning delays – consider community involvement strategies or benefits payments for new developments (has happens with onshore wind in Scotland). Increase community involvement in other ways, for example discounts on local bills and the opportunity for community direct ownership stakes.
- Grow domestic bioenergy feedstocks: For bioenergy renewable energy technologies, more investment in feedstock production in the UK and study of the suitable feedstocks available is needed.
- Grid networks: the electricity grid has undergone considerable transformation in the past ten years, and this will only accelerate with the electrification of heat and transport. The gas network could face a similar transformation with the move to hydrogen and hybrid heat pumps. Both need to be fit for purpose and connection and use of appropriate system rules.
- For the shift to electrified transport: Targeted investment by central government in local authorities needing most assistance. Establishment of a Local Authority delivery taskforce to give clear direction and the implementation of regional transport decarbonisation plans.
- Commit to moving beyond E10 fuel: now is the time to move beyond the current 10% blend of biofuels in petrol and aim upwards with a clear trajectory – other countries have moved to or are targeting an 85% blend.
- A mix of technologies is essential: as the scale of the decarbonisation challenge emerges, it is clear that only a combination of technologies can deliver it, including bioenergy (such as biomass heat and power), energy from waste, gasification, landfill gas, geothermal, solar PV, wind, EVs, biofuels, marine, hydro. Dry and wet AD, composting and energy storage in all forms, will be just as important as the emerging heat pumps, Demand Side Response (DSR) and hydrogen sectors and each has a role to play.
REA survey results can be provided on request.
About the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA):
The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (known as the REA) is the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies with around 550 members operating across heat, transport, power and the circular economy. The REA is a not-for-profit organisation representing fourteen sectors, ranging from biogas and renewable fuels to solar and electric vehicle charging. Membership ranges from major multinationals to sole traders. For more information, visit: www.r-e-a.net