BERR proposes renewables office to speed green energy supply

The Business Department (BERR) unveiled plans to help streamline delivery of renewable energy on Monday

The proposals came in its manufacturing strategy which is aimed at helping the UK’s manufacturing sector cope with emerging challenges and opportunities. Examples include the need to shift to a low-carbon economy, develop skills and invest in ‘intangible’ assets such as software.

Among its proposals is a commitment to set up an Office for Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED) to address barriers to renewables in the supply chain, planning system and electricity supply grid. ORED will work with the Renewables Advisory Board, an independent expert body, to help raise the domestic and global profile of manufacturing companies. It will also help advise manufacturers on how they can exploit growing markets for renewables and compete with companies abroad.

The UK must supply 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020 under the EU’s draft renewable energy Directive (ENDS Report 402, pp 38-39). Last month, two government-commissioned reports on the renewables supply chain cast serious doubt on whether the target could be met (ENDS Report 403, pp 13-14).

But further proposals will only emerge next year when BERR publishes its low-carbon industrial strategy “to achieve its vision of placing UK manufacturing at the forefront of the new low-carbon revolution”. The strategy will build on the government’s response to the Commission for Environmental Markets and Economic Performance published in May ((ENDS Report 400, pp 10-11)).

BERR also published a report on the state of the nuclear power supply chain. It will work with the Office of Nuclear Development to facilitate new nuclear power stations in the UK.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said it was “very encouraged” by the plans. But policy analyst Green Alliance said it was disappointed at the delay.