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Claim on renewable energy costs attacked by officials

Claim on renewable energy costs attacked by officials
Tens of billions of pounds could be saved and carbon reduction targets still met if less was invested in renewable energy, according to a new report.

Tens of billions of pounds could be saved and carbon reduction targets still met if less was invested in renewable energy, according to a new report.

But the study, Powerful Targets, by the independent consultancy AF Consult, was slammed by government officials and the renewables industry.

The AF Consult paper claimed £45billion could be saved if less was spent on green energy and more on nuclear and gas power plants.

The report presented three scenarios based on different renewable energy demands. The first was calculated with no policy targets and estimated the capital spend on new power generation would be £28billion by 2020.

The second included only carbon reduction targets and estimated the total cost at £24billion. Scenario three considered both carbon reduction and renewable energy targets and calculated the capital spend would be £69billion, excluding the wider costs of grid reinforcement.

In the report’s foreword, former Ofgas director general Clare Spottiswoods said: “If we are concerned about cost, then renewables have no part to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “The report’s assumptions are so flawed that the conclusions are near pointless.

“AF isn’t planning for enough generation capacity, it is putting all our eggs into just two energy technology baskets and keeping its fingers crossed that gas prices come good.

“If this sort of short-sighted analysis informed our policies, we’d not meet our carbon emission targets and keep the lights on, and the consumer would certainly be worse off.”

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “This report has been discredited by almost everyone associated with energy policy in the UK, including DECC officials.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said the report “completely misses the point” and “misunderstands” the importance of a balanced energy mix.

“Investing in renewable energy now will protect us from higher energy costs in the future,” he said.

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