Government needs to throw weight behind low-cost renewables says CCC

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has called on the UK Government to support low-cost renewables or risk consumers paying more than is necessary for decarbonisation.

The advisory body warned that there is currently no route to market for cheap onshore wind and said any worries over short-term costs were “misguided”.

The experts said that the cost to the economy of meeting the UK’s legally-binding climate change targets will be higher without cost-effective measures in every sector.

Withdrawing incentives has cut home insulation installations to 5% of their 2012 level, while woodland creation falls short of stated government ambition in every part of the UK, the CCC added.

Going beyond the power sector

The CCC’s report to parliament also called on ministers to show commitment to longer-term strategies, such as carbon capture and storage and decarbonised heating systems.

Ending the “chopping and changing” of policies is crucial, as is committing to regulations and strict enforcement, the report added.

Lord Deben, the Chair of the CCC and Sir John Major’s Environment Secretary, said: “We recognise that over the last ten years, the Government has shown it has the know-how and commitment to drive down UK emissions in the electricity sector by acting early and consistently to avoid costly interventions later.

“We now have to ensure that the Government learns from this experience and presents a programme to tackle emissions right across the economy, including in buildings, transport and agriculture.”

Pressure on politicians

Emma Pinchbeck, trade body RenewableUK’s Executive Director, said: “Onshore wind is the cheapest source of electricity, beating every other technology on cost, including gas and nuclear.

“Any politician who blocks onshore wind has to explain to voters why they’re being denied the lowest-cost power source.”

James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, added: “With reports emerging that taking action on electric vehicles and charge infrastructure is good for the economy, and with the CCC highlighting that we need to do more to meet our carbon commitments, it’s clear that there is more the Government needs to be doing to position the UK as a transport leader.”

> Download CCC's report