Government ‘behind the curve’ on renewables, says REA chair

EXCLUSIVE: Government relies on old information and is “behind the curve” in its understanding of renewable technologies, the chair of the Renewable Energy Association has insisted.

Martin Wright has urged government to consider financial incentives, such as tax breaks, to encourage investment in renewables in the UK. He also said that the public “must be imaginative” about renewable technologies.

Speaking to Utility Week he said: “Government is always operating on old information and when something is moving very fast you end up behind the curve. That is where we are now within policy and they are finding great difficulty actually getting their heads around it.

“People need to have the imagination to understand what could be done and not allow their current perception of the technology to prevent its development.”

Wright argued that the Treasury may be best-placed to put financial structures in place to help fund renewables: “It could be done by the Treasury instead of Decc [the Department of Energy and Climate Change]. You need something that is a message from the Treasury and is genuinely designed to encourage investment.”

Wright added that there is still a public perception that renewables are “peripheral and can’t deliver what we need”. He compared it with the computer industry, which he said underestimated the potential of laptops.

“[The computer industry] didn’t think [laptops] could possibly act in unison or work in the way they do over the internet,” he said. “I think we are seeing a very similar revolution.”