United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Wind Wire: Clear path set

Up to 30% of electricity is to come from renewables by 2020, up from 5.5% today, under the UK government's new energy strategy released last month. Wind energy on land and offshore is to supply over 66% of the total.

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Maria McCaffery from the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) says this will lead to a £60 billion industry with 60,000 British wind jobs. Commenting on the government, she says: "They have rightly ignored the siren calls to abandon wind as the driving force for reaching the targets." But BWEA is "surprised" the government did not take the opportunity to give confidence to investors by clearly stating its ambitions for how much wind power it wants, particularly offshore. Nonetheless, energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband announced up to £120 million (EUR138.8 million) for Britain's offshore wind industry.

"As well as supporting the demonstration and testing of offshore wind, the money will be used to attract offshore wind manufacturers to the UK," he says. The UK's renewable energy support mechanism, the Renewables Obligation, is to be expanded and extended; a new Office for Renewable Energy Deployment is to be created to speed up the growth of renewables, and Miliband confirmed that a "clean energy cash-back" for domestic and small scale renewables will come into effect in 2010, which will guarantee payments for electricity supplied to the grid.

The new renewable energy strategy is part of a package of measures to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by 34% from 1990 levels by 2020. This includes a series of nationwide carbon budgets, a low carbon transport plan and a goal of 40% of electricity from low carbon sources based on a trinity of renewables, nuclear and so-called clean coal.


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