Replacing fossil-coal with fossil-gas makes little sense, says solar industry chief

solar Lightsource Renewable Energy photoCommenting on Energy Secretary Amber Rudd’s ‘energy reset’ speech Paul Barwell, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association said:

“Phasing out coal power electricity is of course good news and was expected – this is an essential move.”

“However it makes little sense to replace fossil coal only with fossil gas.”

“Gas and large-scale solar will soon need very similar levels of support, but unlike gas solar has the bonus of zero carbon emissions, future price certainty and no dependency on imports from unstable countries.”

“Solar has grown from providing 0% to the current 2% of UK electricity supply within just the last five years, and could get to 5% by 2020 with very little extra support. There is plenty of room to include solar alongside gas and nuclear in the coal phase out.”

“No industry could be more fully behind the ‘consumer-led’ and ‘competition focused’ power system the Secretary of state wants to see than solar power. Solar empowers consumers more than any other technology and transforms competition in the electricity sector.”

“The level playing field the Secretary of State wants to see in energy is very welcome, and if implemented that should mean solar is squarely back in the game. However fossil fuel incentives  currently distort the market.”

“We urge Government to stand fully behind solar power because it meets the affordability and wider security objectives the Secretary of State is setting out today. Solar is also the UK’s most popular source of power and has global growth opportunities no other energy technology can match.”

Last month green energy utility Good Energy published a report showing that solar and wind are already helping to reduce wholesale electricity costs.

The analysis showed that solar and wind last year brought wholesale electricity prices down by a £1.5 billion, and that every gigawatt of solar PV installed brings prices down by £35 million per year.

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