Government should push for renewable energy

An energy expert has said the Government needs to commit to helping the renewable energy industry grow as gas prices looked set to soar.


Andrew Cooper, head of on-site renewables at the Renewable Energy Association, said more people would turn to renewable energy as a report warned that gas prices could increase by 70%. But he said the Government needed to help prepare the industry so it did not become overwhelmed.

"What we need from the Government is a commitment to help the industry grow and move forward,” Cooper said. “What we don't want to do is wait until prices are so high that everybody's clamouring for renewable energy when the industry has not been well-developed and supported to grow. We really need support from the Government to enable us to get a mass market for renewables out there."

Cooper said renewable energy, such as solar panels, heat pumps and wood pellets, could help people combat this increase in living costs.

"Renewable energy is going to become more cost effective compared to fossil fuels. If you look at solar energy, it costs 0.00p per KW hour and that price is guaranteed for a number of years to come. You can't say that about the price of a barrel of oil," he said.

"The more people start producing their own heat and power, the more they will feel they have control over the problem. We want to change people from simply being consumers of energy to being producers."

However, Cooper said people needed help with the installation costs involved in harnessing renewable energy.

He said the installation of solar electricity panels cost in the region of £10,000, but suggested that Government grants to help spread this cost could help.

Cooper also pointed to a scheme in the Kirklees district of West Yorkshire, where he is a councillor, in which householders do not have to pay for the cost of installing solar panels or other renewable energy products until they sell their property.

"Under that scheme people get the benefits of renewable energy upfront with no costs to them," he said. And, in Germany, he said, householders are paid for the energy they produce.

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