United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Government trumpeting false note on renewables

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The UK government is trumpeting a 9.5% increase in electricity from renewables in 1999. According to the 2000 Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics, generation from hydro increased by 2%, biofuels by 23%, while wind increased by a mere 2.5%. Renewables provided 2.8% of the UK's electricity in 1999, up from 2.6% in 1998 and 1.8% six years ago in 1993. Energy consultant David Milborrow, however, says the increase in the use of renewables is even smaller than the statistics apparently indicate. Last year was the wettest year of the decade, while 1993 was one of the driest, so increased hydro makes the improvement in output look better than it really is, he says. Taking this into account, the increase from 1993 was 0.8% not 1%. "So the contribution from new renewables is only increasing at about 0.15% per annum. At this rate we shall reach our 5% target [for electricity from renewables] around 2013, rather than 2003 as the government claims."

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