Britain falls behind green energy targets - report
LONDON - Britain is falling behind its targets to replace polluting fossil fuel with clean renewable energy, threatening goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming, a parliamentary report said.
\"On the present rate of progress, we are likely to fall well below even the modest targets which the government has set,\" John Horam, member of parliament and chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee which wrote the report, said in a statement.
The committee urged the government to put sustainable energy at the heart of its new energy policy which is due out later this year.
The call comes before a global summit on sustainable energy in Johannesburg between August 26 and September 4.
The parliamentarians blamed the slow growth in green energy on difficulties in getting planning approval and record-low power prices.
\"Only 25 percent of planned projects have materialised largely due to local opposition against renewable energy and especially wind power,\" adviser to the committee Eric Lewis, told Reuters.
Britain currently generates 2.8 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass and solar power and aims to boost the use to 10 percent by 2010.
\"We will certainly not meet the interim target of five percent of electricity from renewables by 2003,\" the report said.
\"On the basis of present trends, we are unlikely to achieve much more than half the 10 percent target for 2010,\" it added.
The renewables target is part of a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) - widely seen as the main culprit behind global warming.
Under the United Nations Kyoto climate change protocol, Britain agreed to cut CO2 emissions by 12.5 percent by 2010 on 1990 levels. It also aims to slash CO2 emissions by 23 percent in the same period under a non-binding national plan.
A report from Cambridge Econometrics, also published this week, said Britain will struggle to meet its targets to cut CO2 emissions as generators burn more coal to fill the gap left by the closure of nuclear power plants.
The committee report urged the government to make it easier for renewable schemes, such as wind farms, to get planning permission.
It said energy regulator Ofgem\'s review of a new electricity market, due on July 24, should focus on the impact of the new trading arrangements on renewable energy generators, the environment and CO2 emissions.
In the new market, many small generators face penalties because they cannot guarantee their output.
\"The Department of Trade and Industry should review options for incentivising the develpoment of renewables under NETA so that the playing field - so far from being tilted against renewables as at present - should favour them,\" the committee said.
Story by Eva Sohlman
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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