The renewable power industry has warned that it needs £500m from the government over the next two years in order to meet future energy demands. Half of this amount of money will be used for developing wind power generation by installing wind turbines in the sea, while the rest will go to making wind and tidal power generation commercially profitable, because up to now it has only seen an experimental development.
This call for a large injection of public money was made by RenewableUK, a group previously known as the British Wind Energy Association, in a presentation to the energy minister, David Kidney.
RenewableUK pointed to the example of Denmark as a country that had benefited from giving strong support to this new green industry for the development of wind energy generation projects. Denmark invested £1.3bn into this sector, and as a result of this investment, renewable energy industries in Denmark are now producing benefits of £2.3bn annually.
RenewableUK is also asking for £30m for research to resolve conflicts with the aviation sector, which is said to be contrary to the installation of wind turbines because they consider they might be a problem for the radar devices used in airplane navigation.
Maria McCafferty, chief executive of RenewableUK, admitted that “it is a huge amount of money” at a time when public finances are in the middle of a serious crisis. But she said it would pay dividends for years to come, adding: “The future benefits will be very, very significant and, frankly, I don’t think there is a better option at the moment.”
McCafferty also said that many private companies are planning to invest in the clean technology sectors, not only in wind but also in tidal power generation, which is far behind wind power in commercial terms. There are encouraging signs of interest from important companies such as Siemens of Germany and Vattenfall of Sweden. But in the meantime, clean energy technologies need the financial help of governments if they want to be competitive in the future.