Australia and UK political support sharply in contrast with US failures

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In sharp contrast to the situation in the United States, the host country for Global Windpower 2004, high profile speakers from Australia and the United Kingdom said political support for wind development in their countries is going from strength to strength. The Australian government has established a renewable energy credit market and state action on clearing barriers to wind development has become significantly important across the country, said Patrick Conlon, South Australia energy minister. South Australia had no wind plant last year, but now has 310 MW built or under construction and is expecting as much as 450 MW installed within two years. The role of government is to be clear in its support of wind's entry to the transmission grid, he says. "With individual projects, we need to give an early yes or no. Once we've made the decision, we must make sure all agencies are all on the same song sheet." In the UK, support comes directly from Prime Minister Tony Blair, said Alastair Newton, who directs the British Consulate's trade office in New York. "The UK stands at a critical take-off point for dramatic expansion of wind energy. The commitment of the UK government to the industry is crystal clear and will not waver." He says the UK is on a path to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050 and hopes to extend and increase the government's Renewables Obligation from 10% of all electricity production by 2010 to 15.4% by 2015/16. The Renewables Obligation is in place until 2027.

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