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EEF calls for rethink on renewable power

Manufacturers will today call on the Government to reconsider targets for the growth of renewable energy, following a new report that claims it may be too expensive.

The EEF manufacturers' organisation said warnings that renewable energy would remain more costly than the alternatives for many years to come should prompt ministers to consider other opportunities.

Otherwise, the EEF added, energy users in Britain, including consumers, would be forced to pay higher bills than necessary, while businesses would be put at a competitive disadvantage to international rivals.

The EEF was responding to a report from the Committee on Climate Change, the independent body set up to provide the Government with impartial advice on carbon budgets – as well as to monitor the progress Britain is making towards achieving its climate change targets.

The report said that in 20 years time, a decade after Britain is set to achieve ambitious targets for power from renewable sources, most of these technologies would still be more costly than low-carbon alternatives such as nuclear.

The EEF said the findings should lead to a review of the policy – and ultimately a shift towards an approach that includes more nuclear power, though such a move will be hard for the Goverment to promote in light of the recent problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

The organsation also urged the Government to consider planning for greater use of carbon capture and storage technology which aims to provide cleaner forms of existing power generation, as well as putting a much greater emphasis on energy efficiency.

Steve Radley, the EEF's director of policy, said: "Renewables must play a growing role in our energy mix and we need the right policies to ensure that this happens.

"But we need to ask if the 2020 renewable energy target is leading us down the wrong path."