In light of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s figures showing a decrease in renewable energy production, The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is renewing its call for electricity generation to be virtually de-carbonised by 2030.

In response to the challenges of climate change, to deliver genuine sustainability, and to improve our energy security, CIWEM believes that the UK radically needs to increase our supply of renewable energy. CIWEM calls for the fast-tracking of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy production and urges the Government to provide the necessary financial support.

De-carbonising electricity generation is a relatively low-cost option compared to other sectors and would make a major contribution to targets, with electricity generation forming roughly 37 percent of UK carbon dioxide emissions. An evolving energy mix, with an increasing proportion of low-carbon and renewable fuels is required. Offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies are existing or emerging technologies that can harness some of the UK’s most abundant renewable energy sources on a large scale in the near to medium term.

The UK’s accessible offshore wind resource is potentially among the greatest in the world, with the benefits of a shallow continental shelf and strong and consistent winds meaning that there is sufficient resource to power the UK nearly three times over. With a large tidal range and wide ocean swell window, the UK also has very significant tidal and wave resources. Improvements to grid connection for new sources of generation are pending and these, together with improvements to long range transmission and grid stability that are the subjects of ongoing work, should provide a strong environment for the optimisation of the UK’s abundant offshore energy resources in the medium-term.

Renewable energy derived from the nation’s waste must also be promoted to help ensure energy security and reduce the reliance on conventional disposal options. In the context of the 2007 Waste Strategy for England which promotes waste as a resource, CIWEM believes there should be urgent work on the delivery of biogas injection into either the national grid or more local networks. This should be done with the maximisation of energy generation from waste via anaerobic digestion, as well as optimising landfill gas capture and utilising the potential for alternative fuelling of waste industry vehicles.

CIWEM’s Executive Director, Nick Reeves, said: “We must make radical changes to society’s infrastructure and behaviour to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and invest heavily so that future generations are able to meet their needs. In other words, we must become a low carbon society. Doing so is economically feasible, and could establish a more sustainable and secure way of life.”

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world,

CIWEM’s Fitting the Bill: A Manifesto for Environmental Action is available to download on

CIWEM’s newly published PPS on Waste and Climate Change can be downloaded from

Source: CIWEM