UK seems to be best country for wind power investment

Feb 16, 2004 01:00 AM

Britain has become the "most attractive national environment for wind power", according to consultancy Ernst & Young. Strong government backing and financial support for generators of renewable energy meant the UK pipped Spain to the top spot on Ernst & Young's renewable energy country attractiveness index.
Jonathan Johns, who leads Ernst & Young's renewable energies group, said: "Since we last published our index in October 2002, the Government has published details of the Renewables Obligation extension to 15 % and the round two offshore wind farm extension. This has underlined a serious commitment to wind power by the Department of Trade and Industry."

Energy regulator Ofgem estimates that the renewables obligation trading scheme, under which suppliers must buy an increasing amount of their power from renewable sources, will provide £ 485 mm of subsidies to companies generating power from wind farms this year. In a surprise move, Ofgem criticised government proposals to extend subsidies for renewable power generators in remote areas of Scotland as "unnecessary and misguided" and likely to push up consumers' bills.
According to the British Wind Energy Association, the UK -- particularly Scotland -- is the windiest country in Europe. Ernst & Young said Britain's high ranking in the index this year was also due to "unexploited wind resource and a strong offshore regime".

The availability of capital grants for first stage offshore projects acts as a further incentive for investors. Spain is the overall winner on the renewables index, outperforming the UK for its potential for solar and biomass investment, followed by Germany and the US.
Ernst & Young said investors found Britain's solar sector "too expensive" with "low resources". To meet the Government's target of generating 15 % of electricity from renewable sources by 2015, the BWEA estimates capacity to generate 8,000 MW -- enough for a fifth of British homes -- is needed. So far, it has installed just 640 MW of wind power capacity.

Source: Daily Telegraph London
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