Britain should abolish its renewable energy targets and focus on less costly ways to cut carbon- dioxide emissions, according to researchers at Policy Exchange.
Britain could save 12.5 billion pounds ($20.6 billion) by scaling back ambitious wind projects around its coastline, the London-based research group said in an e-mailed report today. The U.K. should “renegotiate its commitment” to the European Union renewable target, the report said.
“The target diverts current and future resources away from measures that could save the same amount of carbon at a lower cost, such as energy efficiency, nuclear and carbon-capture and storage,” Simon Moore, a research fellow and author of the report said. “The U.K.’s commitment to meeting the EU’s renewable energy target is actually damaging the goal of global carbon reduction.” Moore formerly worked for the U.K. government’s Treasury department.
The European Union has a target of getting 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020. That means the U.K. would need to raise its own renewable sources of power to about 30 percent. That target would cost the U.K. 66 billion pounds, the report said. Renewable power accounted for 6.6 percent of generation last year, government figures show.
If the U.K. is unable to back out of the commitments, it should make it easier to build wind farms, burn biomass in power stations and help spur energy efficient projects, the report said. The country should also buy renewable energy from countries that can produce it more cheaply, the report said.
The Renewable Energy Association, a London-based lobby group, said the report was “seriously misguided.”
“Renewables are needed for energy security, to boost and rebalance the U.K. economy, as well as definitely cut carbon,” the association said in an e-mailed statement. “The Policy Exchange’s call to abolish the renewable energy target is, frankly, dangerous and will drag us to into the dark ages.”
The Policy Exchange, funded by charitable donations, was established in 2002. The group has “center right values” and favors free market and local solutions, according to its website.
Policy Exchange published a paper last year to demonstrate how a carbon floor price might work. The U.K. government has since set what it calls a carbon floor in its budget last month.
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