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UK Announces £100bn Renewables Plan

Posted in Renewables,UK by Staff on the June 26th, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced a massive investment plan intended to boost the amount of electricity that the UK generates from renewable sources, especially wind. Not that the money is coming from the government, of course. Instead the plan is to encourage investment from private industry through a series of incentives yet to be announced.

Reactions to the plan have been mixed. Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of the British Wind Energy Association, was delighted saying, “The measures outlined today could transform the UK’s energy supply, with wind leading the way.” And so she should be. The BBC reports that the plans call for, “4,000 onshore and 3,000 offshore turbines”.

A major issue, of course, will be planning permission. Yesterday the Mr Brown’s government overcame stiff opposition from within his own party to pass a bill aimed at removing ministers from the planning process. The idea is to refer planning inquiries to an independent committee rather than have the decision made by a government minister who is liable to cave in to short-term political pressures. However, the bill has been deeply unpopular in the British media, and as this Times article points out, the idea that the government can somehow avoid the politics of the planning process is probably very naive.

And, as The Daily Telegraph points out, many objections to offshore wind farm planning applications have come from the Ministry of Defence on the grounds that the turbines interfere with radar.

The biggest question, however, is whether the government will have the will to make good on their promises. Quoted in The Guardian, Philip Wolfe, the executive director of the Renewable Energy Association said, “The key missing factor is a greater sense of urgency. We have only 12 years left and government still wants to use two of those talking about it.”

One Response to 'UK Announces £100bn Renewables Plan'

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  1. on July 14th, 2008 at 4:39 am

    […] couple of weeks ago Gordon Brown announced that the UK would be investing massively in renewable energy. Yesterday, in a speech at the end of President Sarkozky’s Mediterranean summit in Paris, Mr. […]

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