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Renewable Energy

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what percentage of the UK’s energy supply he expects to come from renewable sources by 2020. (155416)

[holding answer 17 September 2007]: Projections indicate that by 2020, on the basis of existing policies, renewables would contribute around 5 per cent. of the UK’s energy consumption. (The proportion of electricity generated renewably would be much greater.)

The European Council agreed in March 2007 to a target for 20 per cent. of the EU’s primary energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. The Commission has been asked to bring forward detailed proposals—including for each member state’s contribution to this target—by the end of this year. The proposal will then need to be agreed by member states and the European Parliament. After a decision has been reached, we will bring forward the appropriate measures to make our contribution.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received from non-governmental organisations on changes to the Merton rule; what discussions he held with ministerial colleagues ahead of the announcement of those changes; and what impact he expects the changes to have on the Government’s microgeneration strategy. (155446)

[holding answer 17 September 2007]: We are aware of the concerns that have been raised around proposed changes to the planning system. We are working closely with colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government developing policy in this area, to ensure that issues related to microgeneration are considered. No announcements have yet been made.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the obstacles to fulfilling targets for the proportion of energy to be produced from renewable sources. (155499)

[holding answer 17 September 2007]: The Energy White Paper identified the need both to create the right financial framework, and to lower practical barriers relating to planning and grid connection, in the light of our target of 10 per cent. electricity from renewables by 2010 and aspiration to double this by 2020. It also outlined proposals to band the Renewables Obligation, reform the planning regime and improve renewables grid connection in order to address these barriers. In the context of renewable energy use in transport, the White Paper referred to issues of sustainability, mechanical impact and costs.

The 2007 spring European Council agreed an overall target for 20 per cent. of the EU’s energy to be from renewables by 2020. Decisions have not yet been taken on individual member states’ contribution to the target, but we are already giving initial consideration to potential obstacles to further renewable deployment—such as cost, technical feasibility, planning constraints, grid infrastructure, sustainability, and impact on wider energy policy goals—and how these might be overcome. We will be consulting on these issues in more detail once the European Commission has issued proposals on how the EU 20 per cent. renewable energy target should be implemented.