Library filed under Energy Policy from UK
Ministers are planning a U-turn on Britain's pledges to combat climate change that "effectively abolishes" its targets to rapidly expand the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Gordon Brown will be advised today that the target Tony Blair signed up to this year for 20% of all European energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is expensive and faces "severe practical difficulties". ...The shift in stance is due to be discussed at full cabinet next week. Last night a spokesman for the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said: "We don't comment on ministerial meetings with the PM."
... wind energy farms are not a simple panacea for the country's energy problems. Last week the Beatrice turbines were being serviced but, if they had been operational, they would not have been turning. The North Sea's winds were virtually non-existent, meaning no power would have been generated. Opponents say such variability of output is a drawback of wind energy. But O'Brien insisted: 'If we can build big turbines far away from the shore, they will cause minimum upset and disruption. This is their future and that is why the Beatrice project is so important.'
Forget about wind farms and nuclear power stations. The answer to Britain's looming energy crisis could be cheap, plentiful and planet-friendly coal ...The problem for the politicians is that there are conflicting imperatives and no consensus on what should be done - you would more easily achieve agreement on the existence of God. It is not so much a debate as an aural riot, voices shouting against one another like dealers on a trading floor. All claim to be driven by high principle. All promise "sustainable" energy and low carbon emissions. But no lobby ever changes another's mind, and all argue that the best chance for mankind lies in whatever technology they happen to be commercially, professionally or ideologically attached to. Various hard-hat divisions are gung-ho for coal, gas or nuclear. Greens bicker over wind (onshore and off), biofuels, tidal and wave. They pelt each other with wattages, price projections, bar charts, climate forecasts and abuse. Onshore wind power to the hard-hats lies somewhere between Blue Peter and a money-laundering scam. Nuclear to the bean-eaters is the final phase in the Fall of Man. Everyone speaks, nobody listens, and the government calls for yet more talks.
This Government is matching words with action. We said we needed to make tough choices if we are to achieve our clean energy objectives and that is exactly what we are doing.
[ENERGY Minister Malcolm] Wicks said the Government did not want to force through turbines where there was a good reason to refuse permission. He said: "I'm a great fan of wind energy, but I always thought if it is not appropriate in a particular location, the answer should be no. And those answers sometimes come from the local authority and if they are very large, those decisions come through my department. I actually said no to one near the Lake District, but yes to another large one. "The thing to remember is we should not be so gung-ho about any technology that we start to create a backlash in terms of public opinion.
The ‘green' economy is in much the same situation as the media and telecoms industry was prior to the bursting of the dot com bubble. Like media and telecoms the renewable energy sector is dominated by companies with potentially disruptive business models and aggressive business strategies. Just as dot com start ups found it difficult to find a defensive strategy when the online services market soured, so the renewable energy pioneers will find few places to run and hide when consumers stop consuming and the oil price falls.
THE Scottish Government has said it will oppose a city MSP's Bill which would offer council tax discounts to people who install windmills and solar panels on their homes. ...Ms Boyack said Mr Swinney had politely informed her that the Government would oppose the bill, but he had a lot of sympathy with its objectives and he would seek to include some of them in the SNP's proposed Climate Change Bill.
"Unite supports a renewable component in any future energy mix and obviously we welcome the opening of the Crystal Rig wind farm in East Lothian," he said. "However, we believe the SNP and the First Minister need a reality check. Over the past 50 years nuclear energy has supplied up to 50 per cent of Scotland's energy needs. The safety record of nuclear energy in Scotland is excellent.
Islington Council - the first in London to invest £3 million on wind turbines in a green initiative - is accused of frittering away thousands of pounds in council tax by failing to switch off lights. ..."The ruling Lib Dems are very good at spending our money on wind turbines, which are of doubtful use. But they don't appear so good on the simple measures that we do in our homes.
They were meant to be the green answer to Britain's energy needs. But one expert has claimed the Government is throwing away millions on subsidising wind farms - where there is no wind. It has also emerged that some wind farms are sitting idle - because they are not connected to the National Grid. The astonishing claims were made by Michael Jefferson, from the World Renewable Energy Network. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth programme, he said that financial incentives were encouraging firms to site wind farms badly. ... "We should be putting our money where the wind is and that is quite often not where the development pressure is," he said.
On paper, wind power is a great proposition. Britain is the windiest nation in Europe. But despite the government having subsidised the wind industry by half-a-billion pounds so far, as yet it has failed to deliver a half of one per cent of our electricity needs; yet it is costing £90 a year per household. Engineering consultant Jim Oswald has analysed the figures on renewable energy... He says that wind farms are not performing as well as expected. "The volatility thing is a bit like driving your car and I say to you, 'OK, here's a green car, it uses absolutely no fossil fuel but you can only use it when it's windy', he says.
The wind farms will require massive excavation of this ultra-sensitive and increasingly rare area, with consequent disturbance to the fragile ecosystem and hydrology, including the release of damaging gases to the environment. Dava Moor is also an invaluable wildlife corridor, running from the River Spey to the River Findhorn, for a huge array of bird life which will be vulnerable to the wind turbines....The SNP Scottish Executive needs to reassess the renewable energy policies of the previous Labou-led administraton to bring an end to the land-grab that has ensued around Dava Moor and elsewhere in the Highlands.
Survey shows groundswell of support for a new generation of plants to replace ageing facilities reaching the end of their lifeSteve Hawkes An overwhelming majority of people believe that nuclear power will have a role to play in meeting Britain's future energy needs, despite continued opposition from environmental campaigners.
Asked about the financial and legislative responsibilities he believed the Government had in relation to windfarm projects, he said: "I know now we have responsibilities in relation to licensing and development of facilities. "We have responsibility in relation to the fiscal regime to encourage investment so investors will get their return for the money they lay out, and regulatory responsibility is there over all the environmental challenges." He said this regulation had to be done in such a way as to not deter investors.
An independent think-tank has issued the government with a "reality check" over its green ambitions. The report from Cambridge Econometrics warns the government is on course to miss its long-term targets for promoting renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions. Based on the actions already taken by the government, the report forecasts the government will miss its targets for renewable energy in 2010 and 2015 by a wide margin before narrowly meeting the target in 2020.
Renewable power is set to grow far more slowly than the government has predicted, according to a new analysis of the UK's energy mix and greenhouse gas emissions. It will represent only 5 per cent of the country's electricity in 2010, up just 1 percentage point from the 4 per cent recorded last year, says a study by consultancy Cambridge Econometrics. The government's long-held target envisages 10 per cent of electricity coming from renewables by 2010. However, the study found that with new policies in place, the UK could produce 12 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2015.
The EU Commission remains confident that Britain will deliver on its commitments to increase the use of renewable energy sources, despite doubts expressed in London, a Brussels spokesman said Monday. British officials have told government ministers that the country has no chance of meeting its commitments under European Union plans to raise the proportion of energy made from renewable sources by 2020, a British newspaper reported.
Government officials have secretly briefed ministers that Britain has no hope of getting remotely near the new European Union renewable energy target that Tony Blair signed up to in the spring - and have suggested that they find ways of wriggling out of it. In contrast to the government's claims to be leading the world on climate change, officials within the former Department of Trade and Industry have admitted that under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way. And their suggestion that "statistical interpretations of the target" be used rather than new ways to reach it has infuriated environmentalists.
Gordon Brown has been accused of presiding over an environmental policy based on "propaganda and deceit" after a leaked document suggested vital ‘green' energy targets will not be met. Government officials also faced charges of seeking to "undermine" specific environmental commitments made by Tony Blair shortly before Mr Brown took over as Prime Minister last June. The former Prime Minister signed up to a new European Union target of achieving 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources such as wind and tidal power. But a leaked document from officials in the former Department of Trade and Industry revealed that Britain has little hope of achieving its target. According to the briefing paper obtained by The Guardian, officials said the best the UK could actually achieve was just nine per cent by 2020.
The North-east countryside could be "hijacked" to help meet renewable energy targets, an expert has warned. Ecologist Dr John Etherington said the Government would require armies of turbines - and that the open spaces of the North-east could be a prime site. He said: "Rural land is being hijacked as the renewable power generating areas for the cities and big towns.