26 August 2004
Purchasers face rising renewable energy prices if local authorities cave in to anti-wind farm pressure, according to the head of the CIPS energy committee.
"Many large-scale wind farm projects are getting to the planning stage and the 'not-in-my-backyard' groups are coming out to fight them," said Ian Dobson.
Demand is already exceeding supply and the government may not hit its target of having electricity suppliers offering 10 per cent of their output from renewable sources by 2010.
Wind power is the battleground for this target because it is expected to produce a third of the 10 per cent.
"The government set itself a fairly stiff target but it's miles away from its goal," said Dobson.
Wind farm power is also likely to be more expensive than first thought because farms are planned for remote locations.
"To connect them to the national grid will require expensive transmission lines across rugged land or under the sea if it is from an offshore wind farm."
Stephen Timms, energy minister, said the review, to be started later this year, showed government commitment.
Ronnie McLean, director of the Authorities Buying Consortium in Scotland, agreed that in the event of a shortage, councils would have to rethink their wishes for renewable energy against its availability and price.
"Councils are keen on renewable energy because of corporate social responsibility strategies," said McLean, whose consortium buys energy for 14 authorities in western Scotland.
"If the cost of green energy rises substantially we would reconsider our position."