Govt to launch renewables consultation

Wind farms are expected to play a large part in the strategy
Wind farms are expected to play a large part in the strategy

How the UK can reduce its carbon emissions by increasing the use of renewable energy sources is set to be outlined today by the government.

It is expected that a target of 15 per cent of the UK's energy coming from renewable sources by 2020 will be announced.

Anticipated details on how the UK can meet this target include thousands of wind turbines to be built both on and off shore; solar panels for millions of roofs; and a huge uptake of electric cars.

The strategy follows a damning report published last week by the innovation, universities, science and skills (IUSS) committee that claimed the government is set to miss its renewable energy targets as the current framework for the development of renewable technologies is inadequate.

At the weekend energy minister Malcolm Wicks urged confidence in the future of UK renewable energy, promising the UK would undergo a "green revolution".

Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Wicks said the public will see this week "a real determination by the government to move towards 15 per cent of all of our energy from renewables by 2020".

Greenpeace has hailed this target and the anticipated steps to reach this as "visionary".

"If the government actually means it this time then Britain will become a better, safer and more prosperous country," said Greenpeace executive director John Sauven.

"Although this is a consultation to discuss options, it's already clear what ministers need to do. For a start they have to get serious about cutting out energy waste with smarter and better appliances, buildings and cars, and put a proper support policy in place to guarantee a good price for green electricity.

"Key to making this vision a reality is helping UK industry positioned itself to secure investment, profits and jobs from supplying the parts and expertise to build it all."

Today's strategy consultation has also been welcomed by the Carbon Trust, which said that a 15 per cent energy target for renewables by 2020 will deliver "deep cuts" in the UK's carbon emissions.

But Dr Mark Williamson, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust, added: "The key question is can we deliver this major 'dash for renewables' in less than twelve years and at the lowest cost to the consumer?

"Achieving this will require a scale of deployment, investment and political commitment never yet experienced for renewables. The clock is now ticking; a Marshall Plan for renewables is needed urgently to turn the 2020 vision into a commercial reality."


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