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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

29 Jan 2009 01:01:05

Renewables need more subsidies

Renewables need more subsidies
British Gas' chief executive has called for more government subsidies to keep renewable energy projects afloat.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sam Laidlaw claims that companies' slowing pace of renewables investment could lead to an energy crunch in two years time.

Companies have become more reticent about investing in offshore wind farms – which the government seems to be counting on to meet its 2020 renewables targets.

Earlier this week a Department of Energy and Climate Change report claimed the seas could support up to 7,000 wind turbines in addition to those already approved or constructed.

However, existing projects might not be completed.

Finances for the one gigawatt 341-turbine London Array project, planned as the largest offshore wind farm in the world, are said to be on a knife edge.

Mr Laidlaw told the publication: "Investment is starting to fall off quite quickly. The big fear I have is that in two or three years' time the next cycle [of high energy prices] will repeat and security of supply ... will actually go right back on to the top of the agenda and we will be even less prepared to cope with it unless we make the investment now."

At the same time, the EU is consulting on building an offshore super grid to connect wind farms and American company Clipper Windpower has announced plans to build a new turbine factory on the north bank of the River Tyne.



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