The Government announced the start of the formal consultation on the renewables obligation this week aimed at improving the effectiveness of the system.

Among the key areas of consideration are proposals to:

  • make changes to the eligibility of electricity generated from mixed wastes.

  • modify future rules for low cost technologies.

  • simplify administrative arrangements for the obligation, including for smaller generators.

    Outlining the proposals, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said:
    “The Renewables Obligation is the cornerstone of our renewable energy policy and has been very successful in developing this vital new energy sector. Last year saw the biggest increase in renewable generation so far and we want to see it go from strength to strength.”

    “The changes we are proposing are designed to refine the scheme further and take us closer to our 2010 target of 10 per cent. They are intentionally limited and seek to maintain the stability of the Obligation while improving its effectiveness over time. We will consider carefully responses to the consultation before bringing forward secondary legislation to amend the Renewables Obligation Order for 1 April 2006.”

    A government statement on the changes stated: Responses received to the preliminary consultation earlier this year, indicate that there is widespread support for the impact that the RO is making on the market for renewable electricity in the UK. There was also support for government to limit the number of changes under consideration in order to maintain the stability of the Obligation while improving its effectiveness over time.

    The Institute of Civil Engineers and the Renewable Power Association issued a joint report in April this year arguing in favour of a greater use of energy from waste plants (see related story).

    The report claims that there is the opportunity for certain types of waste to produce up to 17% of electricity generated in the UK by 2020 and that producers of energy from waste should be eligible to receive renewable obligation certificates (ROCs).

    David Hopkins

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