18 JULY 2003


The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has invited evidence for its new Inquiry into the practicalities of developing renewable energy.

Lord Oxburgh, chairman of the Sub-Committee undertaking the Inquiry, said:

“The February 2003 White Paper, Our Energy Future - Creating a Low Carbon Economy, confirmed the Government’s aim that, by 2010, 10% of electricity should come from renewable energy sources and logged the aspiration to double that by 2020.

“In principle, we welcome these initiatives but they present challenging targets. Although their economic implications were explored in the White Paper, the practical engineering and other aspects were not. We shall attempt to establish how what is proposed can be done.”

Written evidence is invited by 13 October 2003. Current plans are for a series of hearings, open to the public, from January to March next year. A Report, making recommendations to Government and others, is likely to be published in June 2004.


The formal “Call for Evidence” is attached to this notice.

The text of the White Paper’s key Chapter 4, “Low Carbon Generation”, may be downloaded from

Further information will be available in mid-September (after Parliament’s Summer Recess) from the Clerk to Sub-Committee II - Roger Morgan (until 31 October) and Christopher Johnson thereafter. Contact details are:

Telephone:  020 7219 6072

Fax: 020 7219 0277

Email: (until 31 October 2003)

   (from 1 November 2003)


1. The Science and Technology Select Committee of the House of Lords has appointed Sub-Committee II, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, to conduct an inquiry into the practicalities of the proposals in the February 2003 White Paper, Our Energy Future - Creating a Low Carbon Economy, Cm 5761.

2. The White Paper contains a challenging set of targets for the UK to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. While it contains an extensive analysis of the economic implications of such a shift, there is little consideration given to the practical preparations that will be necessary to supply electricity from renewable sources to consumers.

3. We therefore invite comments on what practical steps are needed to achieve a move towards renewable energy sources at the rate proposed in the recent White Paper. The Committee is particularly interested in the following aspects.

a) Cost-effective technologies available now for the generation of renewable energy, and those that are likely to become available in the next 10 years or so.

b) The number of sites potentially available for such technologies, and the obstacles to taking these up in terms of:

  • planning and other consents;

  • manufacturing and installation capacity; and

  • providing the supporting infrastructure (such as access roads and extensions to the electricity network).

c) The logistics of providing stand-by capacity for times when intermittent sources are not available.

d) The intermediate milestones that should be set on the way to achieving the White Paper’s aims.

4. Should it emerge as the Inquiry proceeds that the milestones are unlikely to be met, the Committee will examine the practicalities of other ways of attaining the White Paper’s carbon reduction targets.

Notes for witnesses

5. Written evidence is invited on the above matters, to arrive by Monday 13 October 2003. Submissions (which will be acknowledged) and any enquiries should be addressed to: Roger Morgan, Clerk to Sub-Committee II, Science and Technology Committee, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW - telephone 020 7219 6072; fax 020 7219 0277; e-mail

6. Short submissions, of not more than six pages, are preferred. Longer submissions should include a summary. Paragraphs should be numbered. If drawings or charts are included, they must be in black and white and of camera-ready quality. Evidence should be signed and dated, with a note of the author’s name, contact details and status, and of whether the evidence is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.

7. Evidence submitted becomes the property of the Committee and is likely to be published. However, witnesses may publicise or publish their evidence themselves provided they make clear that the material was prepared for the Committee.

8. Those submitting evidence, and others, may be invited to give oral evidence to the Sub-Committee, usually in public at Westminster. Transcripts of such sessions and other evidence will be published alongside the Report of the Inquiry, expected in mid-2004.

9. This is a public call for evidence. Recipients of this notice are encouraged to draw it to the attention of others who may wish to submit evidence to the Inquiry.