"Offshore Wind the Future of Renewable Energy in the UK"By Spencer Ogden, PRNE
Sunday, May 22, 2011
LONDON, May 23, 2011 -
- "The Energy Gap is Looming" - Huw Irranca-Davies
- Industry Experts Reveal Key Drivers and Issues Surrounding the Sector
Offshore wind will be the key driver for growth in renewable
energy, but skills shortages and lack of investment threaten to stop the
sector in its tracks, according to a panel of high-level energy sector
experts including Shadow Energy Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, and chairman of
the Environment Agency, Lord Smith.
The panel, which also included EU MD of E.On Renewables,
Michael Lewis, and co-Founder of clean technology investment firm WHEB
Partners, Ben Goldsmith, agreed that whilst the UK does not have an energy
crisis, the government must "plan very rapidly to avoid one". Only 3% of
energy consumed currently comes from renewables, but the government target of
15% by 2020 means the UK "must use every form of renewable energy
Shadow Energy Minister Huw Irranca-Davies commented: "I think
we do have a cross-party consensus, that we can use to put certainty into the
market that we will drive investment in, and fill that energy gap before we
do have a crisis."
"The only way [smaller renewable energy projects] will get
built is if the asset class becomes institutionally credible, and at the
moment it's not," said Ben Goldsmith, Founding Partner at WHEB Partners.
"That's the challenge - to deliver great returns."
The skills shortage was identified as a major obstacle to
meeting renewable targets. The panel's suggestions for future planning
include more sector engagement with schoolchildren at secondary level,
promoting technology and science subjects, and in turn, the energy sector as
a secure, long-term, well-paid career path.
"Anywhere between 80-100,000 jobs will be created by offshore
wind alone; that's before you even consider massive construction projects for
nuclear energy," comments David Spencer-Percival, Managing Director of
Nuclear, solar, onshore wind and shale gas were also
considered; Lord Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, claimed:
"Renewables and nuclear both need to be part of the picture - if you'd asked
me 15 years ago I'd have said no to nuclear power, largely because of all the
waste issues. But climate change has made a realist of me."
A white paper of the discussion is available, and a video can
be viewed here (www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DxHARte61k).
To receive a copy of the white paper, please contact: TopLine Communications email@example.com +44(0)20-7580-6502 www.toplinecomms.com
Tags: London, May 23, Spencer Ogden, United Kingdom