Power firms urge Government to raise the bar on green energy

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The Independent Online

Scottish Power is leading calls for the Government to double the target for wind farms and other forms of renewable energy. This could lead to a new goal of generating almost a third of Britain's electricity from renewables by 2030 - a statistic described by one representative from the manufacturing sector as "utterly absurd".

Scottish Power is leading calls for the Government to double the target for wind farms and other forms of renewable energy. This could lead to a new goal of generating almost a third of Britain's electricity from renewables by 2030 - a statistic described by one representative from the manufacturing sector as "utterly absurd".

Doubling the target could also raise electricity prices by almost 20 per cent, based on figures from the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Government is consulting on whether to extend the existing target - which requires electricity suppliers to get 15 per cent of their power from renewables by 2015 - to a higher one for 2020. But wind-farm operators are lobbying for it to go even further to help them decide whether to keep building the facilities. They are not profitable without targets, which act as a subsidy.

Because wind farms can operate for 20 years, and take several years to plan and build, the companies want to know what the renewable target will be further into the future.

Keith Anderson, the strategy director at Scottish Power, one of the UK's largest wind-farm operators, said: "The Government needs to keep rolling the renewables obligation target out beyond 2020. If not, the rate of investment will slow down.

"If we have a target for onshore and offshore wind farms of 25 per cent, added to another 5 per cent coming from wave power, it would be possible to have a new renewable target of 30 per cent by 2030."

Kevin Akhurst, the managing director of generation and renewables at RWE npower, said: "The target must maintain investors' confidence by providing a stable environment for steady growth in renewable energy beyond 2015." Centrica agreed that it wanted more clarity over long-term planning.

But Jeremy Nicholson, the director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said the subsidy had already added an extra 5 per cent to industry energy bills. "It would be utterly absurd to double the renewable target."

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