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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Renewables for nuclear

Some 1400 MW of new renewable energy capacity would help Scotland towards achieving a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 levels by 2010, says Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland. The 1400 MW, or 600 MW of declared net capacity (DNC), is a key part of a package of measures for reducing emissions that includes energy efficiency, local authority targets for reducing road traffic, and making sustainable energy an overriding objective for energy industry regulators.

In its proposal for a sustainable energy strategy for Scotland, FoE's 2010 goal is a step towards a 90% reduction in greenhouse gases by the middle of the 21st century. Today, renewables supply just over 10% of Scotland's electricity -- mostly from large scale hydro. If the government meets its current Scottish Renewables Obligation (SRO) target of 150 MW DNC of new renewables, this will rise to around 18%.

FoE also points out in its "Achieving the Possible" strategy that when the Hunterston B nuclear station closes by 2011, replacement clean generating plant to meet around one quarter of Scotland's electricity will have to be in place if CO2 emissions are not to rise. FoE believes renewables could meet half Scotland's needs by 2025 -- requiring up to 2700 MW of capacity. An intermediate target of 1400 MW would coincide with the closure of Hunterston B.

Renewable energy development can bring economic and social benefits to both rural and urban communities, says FoE. But the SRO; while it may help reduce emissions, does not allow for this added value. Instead, FoE proposes an obligation on utilities to buy a minimum percentage of renewables. Prices could vary according to the technology and contracts should be awarded on environmental and social grounds.

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