Britons may need to pay 50-60 pounds on top of their annual energy bills in 2020 to cover the cost for building renewable energy capacity, mainly onshore and offshore wind farms, a government advisory body said on Monday.
Energy bills are expected to rise to nearly 600 pounds per year by the end of the decade as a transition towards a low-carbon energy market requires huge investments in new, greener technologies, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said in its Renewable Energy Review, a report commissioned by the coalition government when it took office one year ago.
But households could curb energy demand by around 14 percent if they install energy-saving measures in their homes and therefore reduce final bills, the report said.
Industries that compete in global markets may suffer a disadvantage due to higher energy bills, the CCC found, saying companies in iron, steel or aluminium sectors could be affected.
“To the extent that there are competitiveness risks, there is a range of potential measures (e.g. tax rebates) which would help mitigate any impacts,” CCC recommended to the government.
It reviewed on behalf of government Britain’s potential for renewable energy and whether official targets should be revised.
In September, it said the overall targets were reachable and on Monday published its final findings.
The share of renewable energy in Britain’s power generation mix could rise to between 30-45 percent by 2030 – compared with 3 percent now – if the cost for green technologies fell.
“The focus now should be creating a stable investment climate for renewables, making longer-term commitments to support less mature technologies, and putting in place incentives to deliver significantly increased investment in renewable power and heat generation required over the next decade,” Adair Turner, chair of the committee, said.
Its report estimates that next to renewables, nuclear power would take a roughly equal share of generation capacity, assuming both covered around 40 percent, while carbon-capture and storage would cover 14 percent and unabated gas would account for 8 percent of production capacity.
Next to current projects for new nuclear plants expected to be in operation by 2025, the CCC assumes another 3 gigawatts of nuclear capacity will be built either at existing sites or at Hartlepool in north-east England, which was shortlisted by the government but hasn’t attracted new-build plans.
The timeline for building new nuclear reactors in UK was thrown into doubt after the nuclear regulator announced its approval process for EDF Energy and Areva’s European Pressurised Water Reactor and Westinghouse’s AP1000 would be delayed after Japan’s nuclear accident.
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