On George Osborne’s assertion that gas is “lower cost” and the measures to support shale gas exploration, REA Chairman Martin Wright comments:
“The Chancellor must understand that gas is not cheap, nor does it offer stable pricing in the future. It has been by far the major driver of energy bill increases in recent years, and there is no evidence for the presumption that shale gas will have the same impact on prices here as it has in the USA. Moreover, increasing demand from other economies will undoubtedly drive prices and volatility.
“The Strategy’s anticipated cost of capturing and storing the carbon emissions from gas in the 2020s is higher than nearly all renewable sources of power. So why is there such an emphasis on this technology?
“Ironically we are getting a cross-departmental Office for Unconventional Oil and Gas, when what the UK needs is an effective cross-departmental Office for Renewable Energy Deployment.”
On the impact of the Gas Strategy for carbon and climate objectives, Martin Wright comments:
“Osborne and the Gas Strategy launched today show that the UK doesn’t seem to be able to break its habit on fossil fuel, even as the Climate Change Ministers negotiate in Doha. The announcements today send a clear signal about the Government priorities and investors will respond to that.
“The UK has some of the best renewable resources in the world, which are totally sustainable and which offer stable low-cost energy in future – we should prioritise exploiting those.”
On the effect of today’s announcements for investor confidence in the renewable power sector, Martin Wright comments:
“What we needed today was an assurance that gas would play an important short to medium term role, supporting renewables in the transition to a low carbon energy future. Instead gas has been placed centre-stage. It is vital that the Renewable Energy Roadmap, expected to be published next week, maintains investor confidence in renewables.
“Contrary to the current zeitgeist, we remain of the view that long term decisions have to be made. We are firmly of the view that climate change remains an issue of central importance and we have a responsibility to future generations. The whole tenor of this announcement suggests a fundamental failure to accept the scientific evidence on climate change.”
Renewable gas, from anaerobic digestion and gasification technologies, could play a vital role in the UK’s gas future, but is not acknowledged in the Gas Strategy. REA Head of Biogas David Collins comments:
“It is disappointing to see no mention of renewable gas in the Government’s Gas Strategy. Today represents a missed opportunity to celebrate the genuinely good work the industry and Government are doing on the ground to overcome the barriers to injection of biomethane into the gas grid.
“National Grid estimates that biomethane, if exploited fully, could provide around 25% of the UK’s residential gas supply. Renewable gas can make a vital contribution to boosting the domestic security of our gas grid. It also has excellent emissions and landfill displacement properties and provides tremendous economic opportunities for farmers and small businesses.”
The Renewable Energy Association represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK across power, heat, transport and renewable gas. It is the largest renewable trade association in the UK, with over 900 members, ranging from major multinationals to sole traders.
For more information on: REA