09 May 2011
The Committee on Climate Change’s Renewable Energy Review, published today, lacks detail on the technical issues that are needed to help us meet our renewable energy targets according to Europe’s largest engineering institution.
Secure, low-carbon and affordable energy requires investment of £250bn, in electricity alone, if the Coalition is to meet the target of providing 30% of energy from renewables by 2020. This target is in danger of not being met due to lack of action being taken now to invest in a future smart grid that can intelligently connect users and suppliers.
Prof. Roger Kemp from the Institution of Engineering and Technology said: “The report takes a simplistic view of the subject and plays down technical issues. It refers to offshore turbines as having ‘very low running costs’ without factoring-in the potential routine maintenance of large structures in a highly aggressive environment and the lack of significant long-term operational experience in areas like the North Sea.
“When talking about wave energy, the report assumes that the limiting factor in adoption will be economics, while we consider that technical viability could be equally important.
“Demand response will have a central role to play, but the challenge of moving from the current ambition for smart metering to a smart grid with full public involvement is only hinted at. The need to engage the public is crucial.”
There are many engineering and social issues to be resolved before the optimistic ambitions contained within this report can be achieved. Its publication coincides with the publication of the government’s infrastructure adaptation report and combined they highlight the extent of the engineering challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.