BWEA claims that the UK’s renewable energy industry can meet ambitious EU 2020 targets, with more government support.

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) claims that the UK’s renewable energy industry can meet ambitious EU 2020 targets, but that more effective government support is required to do so.

The industry assciation says it is wrong for civil servants to suggest that the EU target for 20% of power to be derived from renewables by 2020 cannot be met, pointing out that the equivalent of 6% of the UK’s electricity supply remains held up in the planning system from onshore wind energy projects alone. The BWEA says that investment in the wind industry is ready and calls on the government to introduce a series of measures to achieve its goals. The BWEA argues that the government should accelerate new site awards for offshore wind, which are necessary if the 2020 targets are to be reached. The UK wind industry estimates that it could realistically supply 20 GW, or some 17% of the UK’s electricity capacity, by 2020 from offshore wind alone, but in order to deliver this level of capacity, a new generation of offshore wind sites will need to be awarded by 2012. However, the industry is still waiting for the government to launch the next Strategic Environmental Assessment, which is required before a site award process can begin.

Along with measures to address the logjam of planning applications the BWEA also calls for the government to expand the Renewables Obligation further by extending its life beyond 2027 and raising support above 20% by 2020. Analysts believe that up to £30 billion ($60 billion) of investment is available for new offshore wind energy projects over the next 15 years, and the Renewables Obligation is the key to unlock this.