06 January 2005 | David Arminas
The chairman of the CIPS energy committee has welcomed the government's move allowing electricity suppliers to spend more money hooking up renewable sources of energy.
Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, has almost doubled the amount of money - from £360 million to £560 million - that transmission companies Scottish and Southern, ScottishPower and National Grid Company can spend collectively to get power lines into remote areas to connect up renewable generation projects.
The move means that "more renewable energy could be available sooner rather than later", according to Ian Dobson, who also runs his own energy consultancy.
Wind-power generation has been the most promising of all the renewable sources, including wave, tidal and hydro electric power.
But the remote location of wind farms often means it is expensive for transmission companies to put transmission lines into the project to hook the generator up to the grid.
Wind farms planned for locations closer to urban areas or areas of natural beauty have been stymied because of local protests.
The latest move by Ofgem allows transmission companies to increase their charges to help pay for their investment, according to a spokesperson.
Normally Ofgem allows suppliers to increase their charges every five years after a spending review.
The government has set a target of 10 per cent of UK generation to come from renewable resources by 2010.