Effectively, though, the IPC is more likely to be busying itself with offshore wind, and approving nuclear plant and offshore wind projects than troubling the onshore wind target. Offshore is less prone to nimbyism than onshore, or at least it has a different class of nimby. The MoD's concerns about radar interference are to be addressed by the development of an action plan "to identify workable solutions to mitigate the impact of wind turbines on radar systems", while extensions to the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) are proposed to allow wind farms to be build closer to shipping lanes.
The defects of biofuels are now well-established, but it's clear from the document that this presents some considerable difficulties for renewable strategy. At the moment, the EU's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation requires that 5 per cent of fuel be biofuel by 2010, and 10 per cent by 2020. For the UK this 10 per cent would amount to 20 per cent of the total target, or a 20 per cent hole in the vision if biofuels are deemed to have been a daft idea in the first place.
"We are committed to meeting both our and the EU's renewable energy goals in a sustainable way," says the document, and although it doesn't quite spell it out, and warbles hopefully about "second and third generation" products that somehow won't be a problem, it looks likely that biofuels won't fit the bill.
Which leaves us looking tentatively elsewhere. "At present the main source of renewable energy available for transport is biofuels. However, vehicles powered through the electricity grid using renewable energy may have a growing part to play." And: "Over the next few years, motor manufacturers have committed to developing electric and, potentially, hydrogen-powered vehicles. In widespread use, such vehicles would have the potential to contribute to the EU renewable transport target."
The authors have also spotted the potential of a large fleet of battery powered vehicles to provide storage for renewable energy sources. They "through vehicle-to-grid technologies could help smooth electricity demand." But as yet we don't have any kind of strategy: "The Government is keen to promote all options for future technological development (including electric and hydrogen) and is interested in examining now how the development of electric vehicles and an appropriate charging infrastructure could be accelerated in the UK."
And what will all of this cost? It's something of a movable feast - overall it will definitely cost lots, but the amount it will cost us over and above not doing anything will depend on the price of oil and commodities. The document suggests that the cost of meeting the 15 per cent obligation will be around £5-6 billion a year in real terms by 2020, but this is based on oil at $70 a barrel, while if it were $150 a barrel the relative cost of the renewable strategy "could fall by 35-40 per cent." So the more you end up having to spend on energy, the smaller the more you're likely to have to spend on renewable energy. But it'll still be lots. ®
@Pete - Govt. energy policy in 8 words ...
"we're going to take more of your money"
Having glanced through this 'strategy document-cum-consultation' it seems to need another eight words:
"... and seize regulatory opportunities to extend our bureaucracy."
Pro-nukes can't count and fake concern for the birds
>>>We could build 2 additional nuclear power stations for a small fraction of the cost and neatly cover the entire energy gap.<<<
Absolute rubbish. Current nuclear technology is highly cost-ineffective, even before you factor in the costs of waste storage, disposal, decommissioning and risk which together make it completely prohibitive.
>>>We'd also not disrupt the estinated 40-50% of bird migration paths which currently pass over the UK which heavier investment of wind farms would cause, with major knockon effects to biodiversity in the UK, the costs of which will also be substantial.<<<
Funny how all these pro-nuke anti-renewable loonies are SUDDENLY SO CONCERNED ABOUT THE POOR, POOR birds!?!?!?
Who gives a flying fuck if a few birds fly into a spinning windmill blade?
>>>Spain's deployed wind farms in a few highly suitable areas. This dosn't mean that they can deploy a lot more for low costs, and they're also having problems with having suddenly chopped off bird populations..<<<
The British Wind Power survey found Britain has a vast choice of higly-suitable areas.
Your concern about the bird populations is based on a wild fantasy - this objection to wind farms has no valid basis in fact, except in Denmark where they nailed a bunch of rare sea eagles. Bad luck.
I tried to start a company to make wind turbines in the '980s and was told it would never work. Now the Government wants to use millions of them all over the country.
As for microgeneration, unless you have a wind turbine with a 6 meter diameter rotor you are waisting your time. Likewise with solar cells you would need at least 40 sq m area to generate any useful power, i.e. something that has a pay back period in years not decades.
I also think the estimated rise in power bills is off by at least an order of magnitude.
Unless nuclear power stations are built fast there will be power shortages in the UK by 2020 if not before, all the green energy supplies not withstanding.
I know the green lobby would love the country to revert to the dark ages but to do that would require the population to be reduced to that level as well, maybe the greens should be the ones to volunteer to drop dead first then those remaining can get on with their lives in peace.