United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Wind wire: Falling short

Yet another study, this time by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), concludes that England's regions will fall far short of their renewable electricity targets for 2010.

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All eight English regions plus London have their own targets to meet within the overall UK policy for 10% of electricity from renewables by the end of next year.

On average, only 50% of renewable electricity targets will be met, with some regions, such as the Southwest, failing to reach even a third of targets. The root cause of the poor performance is the malfunctioning of the current system for permitting sites for wind energy use at local government level, the report states. In the three years from April 2006 to April 2009, only 36% of site applications were approved by local authorities with an average decision time of 14 months. Many project developers whose applications were refused locally went on to appeal, resulting in 44% of appeals being granted.

Wales has performed even worse than England, so far achieving only 25% of its 2010 target. The report, however, finds that Scotland and Northern Ireland have fared better and bolstered the poor performance of England and Wales. The BWEA's Maria McCaffery says the target-based approach works, but takes political will to deliver.

"In Scotland renewables targets were backed by a policy framework and decisive government action. As a consequence, Scotland achieved more installed capacity than it was aiming for, thus helping to improve the overall UK picture as we approach 2010. In England we need to think carefully about how to use the lessons learned from 2010 as we attempt to reach the binding EU-wide 2020 targets," she says.


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