Oxera reviewed the economic and technical aspects of the UK regional assessments of the potential for renewable energy generation in 2010 for the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.
In particular, we examined whether the proposed regional targets in aggregate were sufficient to meet the government’s target, and whether the assumptions made were consistent and reasonable, with consideration by Arup Economics and Planning of the planning issues.
Key conclusions from the report were that the 10% Renewables Obligation target is more or less reached under the high targets proposed in the regional assessments, but not under the low targets. Half of the total of the regions’ assessments consisted of on- and offshore wind, whereas landfill gas and biomass make up most of the remaining half. However, those technologies were also the most problematic in terms of obtaining planning consent.
A more positive planning system would assist the achievement of the national target. The planning system may take several years to incorporate the regional targets into forward plans, and hence into development control decisions. Nevertheless, there were actions that government could take which would have an immediate effect, and which would also deliver improvements in the future.