UK must ramp up renewables to stay competitive

The UK needs to up its game if it wants to be considered a serious contender in the renewables market, a leading energy-from-waste firm has warned.

Covanta Energy believes Britain may lose its competitive edge if it doesn’t address some of the key barriers to renewables investment such as ambivalence among policy-makers and the cumbersome planning process.

The UK has a target of 30% of electricity to be produced from renewable sources by 2020, but currently only 6.6% of electricity is generated in this way.

With Germany and Switzerland confirming their intentions to drop nuclear in favour of alternatives like wind, solar and energy-from-waste in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, Covanta is concerned that Britain may lose out.

Covanta’s UK managing director, Malcolm Chilton, said: “As other European countries extend their renewable programmes, it’s more important than ever that the UK clarifies its plans to support the development of renewable energy infrastructure. If not, we could see the inward investment that we require moving elsewhere.”

Chilton also argued that the UK requires the right mix of renewable technologies, and that the potential of energy-from-waste should not be underestimated.

“Unlike some other newer renewable solutions, the energy-from-waste process is tried and tested. This technology provides a continuous energy source which, unlike wind or solar, is not restricted by weather conditions,” he said.

Maxine Perella

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