Green Alliance welcomes government steps on coal and offshore wind

Government decisions to end unabated coal and offer offshore wind a path to a bigger market are wise and should begin to stabilise UK energy policy

News release
Wednesday 18 November 2015

The government’s announcement today that the UK will be switching off unabated coal within a decade and offering offshore wind a market into the 2020s was welcomed by Green Alliance.[1]

Responding to the coal phase out announcement Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance, said:
 “The UK was the first to use coal to power its industrial revolution and will now be the first major economy to escape its clutches.  Kicking the coal habit is the biggest thing any government can do to lower carbon pollution, and if we can inspire others to follow our lead we will have made a huge contribution to preventing dangerous climate change. The Prime Minister deserves credit for following through on his pre-election pledge to phase out coal. He should dine out on it when he meets world leaders at the Paris climate conference in two weeks’ time”

Responding to Amber Rudd’s announcement on offshore wind, he said:
 “The cost of offshore wind is falling, but Amber Rudd has been wise to make future support conditional on the industry bringing costs down further. We’re heartened that the government has followed our recommendation to create a glide path to full technology competition in 2025. Future conditional support protects the consumer, whilst giving the industry greater confidence to invest in the supply chain, which is crucial to growing UK content and lowering costs.”

Green Alliance has today published research which shows that:

• the subsidy rate for offshore wind electricity has fallen by 52% in the past three years;

• offshore wind will go from 1 to 10% of UK electricity between 2011 and 2020;

• the cost of offshore wind is likely to hit the target the government has set for it of £100 per MWH by 2020, which will be a cost reduction of 30-40%.

To ensure the UK can maximise the benefits from this industry, we argue that the government should:

• commit to a minimum market size, if cost reduction targets are met, to incentivise the industry to invest in efficiency and scale;

•review costs at an agreed date and only agree new contracts if reductions are on target;

•set out the roadmap for offshore wind to compete fully with other technologies by 2025.  


Notes to editors

[1] Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. Since 1979, it has been working with a growing network of influential leaders in business, NGOs and politics to stimulate new thinking and dialogue on environmental policy, and increase political action and support for environmental solutions in the UK.

[2] David Cameron signed a joint pledge in February 2015 committing to:
  • To seek a fair, strong, legally binding, global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below 2°C.
  • To work together, across party lines, to agree carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act.
  • To accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient low carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation.

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