The government should slow down plans to erect thousands of offshore wind turbines in the UK's seas by 2020, its climate advisors have said.
The Committee on Climate Change said renewables had a significant role to play in cutting carbon from the UK economy, and could provide 30% of electricity, heating and transport energy by 2030.
But nuclear power would remain the most cost-effective way of providing low-carbon electricity well into the 2020s, the committee said, calling for around 14 new nuclear plants to be built by the end of the next decade. Such a move would go beyond existing plans to build 12 new reactors on seven sites by 2025.
And the "very aggressive pace" of government plans for the roll-out of offshore wind turbines - seen as less controversial than onshore turbines and the major focus of renewable development - should be "moderated" because of its expense up to 2020.
The committee's chief executive David Kennedy suggested more support could be given to cheaper alternatives, including air and ground source heat pumps to homes and developing more onshore wind farms, to help the UK meet its legally-binding EU target to provide 15% of all energy needs from renewables by 2020.
Under current offshore wind plans, the government would expect to see 13 gigawatts of turbines installed in the seas around the UK by 2020, or more than 3,600 turbines.
Kennedy said: "Offshore wind is a very promising technology and one we should support in the UK. It has a lot of resource potential and is becoming competitive over time."
However it will not be competitive with other low carbon technologies in the next decade or so.
The government should be flexible on its plans for offshore wind this decade, potentially installing several fewer gigawatts of power up to 2020, but should not look for a "wholesale change" in the level of ambition, Kennedy said.
However, government commitments should be made to continue investment in offshore wind in the 2020s because of the importance it will play in the UK's long term energy mix, the committee said.
The review recommends a "portfolio approach" to "decarbonising" the UK's power sector, with around 40% of electricity coming from renewables, 40% from nuclear, 15% from fossil fuels with the technology to capture and store carbon emissions, and less than 10% from unabated gas fired plants.
Recommendations also include allowing the Green Investment Bank to borrow from day one to help channel funding towards low carbon technology and training and accrediting people to install renewable heat technology.
And a cautious approach should be adopted for using biofuels, with the focus on electrification of vehicles to cut emissions from transport.
The Committee on Climate Change's chairman Lord Adair Turner said: "Our analysis shows that renewable energy technologies are very promising, and have an important role to play in helping meet the UK's carbon budgets and 2050 target, alongside other low-carbon technologies such as nuclear and CCS.
"The focus now should be on creating a stable investment climate for renewables, making longer term commitments to support less mature technologies, and putting in place incentives to deliver significantly increased investment in renewable power and heat generation required over the next decade."
Support for nuclear power holds strong
The disaster at the tsunami-hit Fukushima reactors in Japan does not appear to have had much impact on public opinion on nuclear power in the UK, research has suggested.
Around two-thirds (65%) of Britons polled see a role for nuclear in the UK's energy mix, according to Populus - a level of support seen since 2007 when the opinion research consultancy started tracking the issue.
Almost one in five (19%) supported nuclear power and thought it was the best way to tackle climate change.
But while 42% of the more than 2,000 people quizzed for the latest research were in favour of a new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK, just 12% were so strongly supportive that they would be very cross if the view that new reactors should be built did not prevail.
Of the 31% who oppose the building of another generation of power plants, almost half (14%) are very firmly against new plants, the results suggest.
According to Populus, the survey shows that almost three-quarters (74%) of the public do not have a strong view on new nuclear power and can be swayed by the argument.
A spokesman said: "The public clearly see a role for nuclear power as part of the UK's energy mix.
"However, on the practical level of building a new generation of nuclear power stations, support is quite soft and could quickly be eroded.
"There is a role for the industry to engage with the 74% of people who haven't settled on a strong position on this issue."