UK-based solar energy specialist greentech today welcomed moves to triple the number of solar panels across the UK by 2030 — but said the Government must do more to make it happen. Leaked details ahead of the publication of the Government’s energy security white paper suggest that official targets for solar power generation will soar from the current capacity of 14GW to 50GW over the next eight years. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says it also wants to see big increases in offshore and onshore wind power and a doubling of the country’s nuclear power capacity over the same period.
greentech Managing Director for UK, Yaw Ofori, said the targets were a welcome recognition of the urgent need for the country to move towards developing a zero-carbon future that also safeguards energy security.
But he said Government policy needed to be fully joined up with other stakeholders, grid companies and planning authorities, if the targets were to be met.
“We very much welcome these figures and hope that they will be included in the energy strategy when it is revealed next week,” said Yaw.
“But there has to be much more to this than simply setting targets and hoping that the renewable industry will deliver on them.
“The Government must look at national planning policy to ensure that developments such as solar farms are given every opportunity to go ahead. The electricity distribution and transmission systems must be upgraded if the Government’s targets are to be achieved as the industry is facing significant challenges securing economically-viable grid connections which limits our ability to deliver renewable energy projects.
“We would like to see a streamlined planning process, which gives us the opportunity to respond speedily to these targets by bringing new sites online urgently. All too often under the current development process, plans for new solar farms are becoming stalled and the environmental crisis continues.
“We are not asking for permission to build solar farms anywhere we like, but a recognition that we need to prioritise them — and the risk that climate change poses — in the system.
“We would also like to see more Government support for investment in renewable technology and incentives given to allow consumers, developers, industry and the public sector to take up green choices.
“If the Government can produce a truly integrated energy strategy inclusive of the key stakeholders, the net gains for the country could be huge. Not only could we meet our NetZero targets by 2050, we could create a thriving and future-proof green economy, become a world leader in the renewable technologies that will dominate our infrastructure for the rest of the century and also deliver national energy security at the same time.”
Yaw was speaking after reports that BEIS wanted major increases to the country’s renewable energy capacity in the Government’s new energy strategy, due to be published in the next few days.
The Prime Minister has already set out a 10-point plan, which includes a goal for the UK to get all its electricity from low-carbon sources by 2035.
greentech manages an O&M portfolio of assets across 10 different countries, resulting in a combined output of more than 900 MWp. It is currently working with landowners in this country to identify and develop suitable sites for solar farms to significantly increase the use of renewable energy.