United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Battling with dinosaurs

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"We are ready to do battle with dinosaurs," exclaimed UK energy minister Mike O'Brien, standing just yards away from the skeleton of a diplodocus. O'Brien, speaking at the EWEC 2004 conference dinner, was referring to wind power capturing market share from conventional energy sources. The dinner was held amid the Victorian gothic splendour of the great hall in London's Natural History Museum, where tables were ranged around the magnificent dinosaur.

The UK lags far behind European wind market leaders Germany, Spain and Denmark, he said. "We have taken our time in developing the renewables agenda but we are going to catch you up." Onshore wind, as the most well developed renewable technology, together with offshore is a key area of UK energy strategy, he said. As well as its environmental benefits, there is an economic imperative for wind as fossil fuel costs continue to rise. The renewables obligation mechanism will support renewables to the tune of £1 billion a year by 2010. "This government will provide the political will," he said. "You will, we hope, provide the investment."

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