United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Environment groups welcome government's greenest budget to date

For the first time in two decades, North America is launching a major wind power market based on standard offer contracts. Fixed premium prices for wind power have been common in Europe but they have not been a feature of the American market since the California wind-rush of the 1980s. Now the Ontario government has unveiled a standard offer contract program for small scale renewables projects that is expected to significantly expand wind development in the Canadian province.

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Environment groups have welcomed the present UK government's greenest budget to date. In addition to granting £50 million to micro generation, budget measures directly affecting renewables include a rise in line with inflation in the climate change levy which penalises electricity from fossil fuels and nuclear, plans for a new National Institute for Energy Technologies -- a public-private partnership with a particular focus on energy sources and technologies that reduce carbon emissions and contribute to security of supply -- and a package of incentives to boost production of and demand for biofuels. In his budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announced that at April's meeting of the World Bank the UK will propose a $20 billion target for leveraging public and private investment into renewables and energy efficiency in developing countries. Brown also says he is pushing EU finance ministers to agree to extending and strengthening the Emissions Trading Scheme beyond 2012.

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