United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Committee report highlights government's poor record on renewables

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The UK government, regulator Ofgem, Britain's electricity trading arrangements (NETA) and the findings of the Prime Minister's Performance and Innovation Unit's (PIU) energy review all come in for some stinging criticism by a group of Members of Parliament (MPs). The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee highlights Britain's poor record on deploying renewable energy sources. Despite having the greatest renewable potential of any country in Europe, it produces less than 3% of its energy from renewables, which compares unfavourably with almost all other European countries, says a committee report: "A Sustainable Energy Strategy? Renewables and the PIU review." Committee chairman John Horam MP points out: "We rank thirteenth in the EU in the amount of renewable electricity supplied -- and on the present rate of progress we are likely to fall well below even the modest targets which the government has set." The report responds to the PIU's energy review earlier this year and feeds into a government consultation before it draws up its Energy White Paper. "Current energy policy is at a historical turning point," says Horam. "We need renewable energy to reduce CO2 emissions and fill the gap left by the decline of coal and nuclear. The White Paper due later this year must not turn out to be yet another vacuous policy document." The report calls on the government to "show leadership" in streamlining the site permit process and in dealing with the conflicting priorities of cheap energy and meeting the UK's Kyoto obligations.

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