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August 18, 2009

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Energy policy may test HSE resources

The HSE needs to consider the resource implications of inspecting and

regulating the solar and marine energy sectors, which are likely to

experience significant growth over the coming decades as the Government

aims to meet a number of climate-change targets.

The recommendation is outlined in two reports by the Health and Safety Laboratory’s horizon-scanning team. The UK Energy Research Centre states that to meet its target of 2 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2020, the marine renewable energy sector must be building one unit a week by 2012 – rising to about four units a week by 2015.

The horizon-scanning team’s report on the sector points out that the HSE needs to consider how it will manage its resources over the next 10 years, given that the offshore division will also be dealing with oil, gas and offshore wind power.
Health and safety risks associated with growth in the sector include construction of marine-energy devices at sea and maintenance of units.

The team also highlights that the rise in solar installations could generate training and competency issues, e.g. working at height, while chemicals used in the manufacture of solar panels, such as cadmium telluride and copper indium diselenide, could pose a health risk. Potential hazards may also arise from transportation of these chemicals, as well as the disposal and recycling of solar panels.

The reports are at

2009/07/27/solar-energy and

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