England Angered Over Axed Renewable Targets

A report leaked to British media in advance of a government White Paper laying out the country’s energy plan, has Great Britain’s Renewable Energy community in an uproar.

London, England – February 20, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] According to a story published by the British Broadcasting System (BBC) and confirmed by a reporter for a major international daily newspaper, the final version of the White Paper is free of aggressive Renewable Energy targets calling for 20 percent of energy in Great Britain to be renewably generated by 2020. Ralph Kappler, director of London-based energy consultant Halo-Energy, who said the leaked information is already having a negative effect on Renewable Energy businesses on the British Isle, suggested the leak was planned in part because the Department of Trade and Industry has refused to confirm or deny the information. “This Government now routinely dumps pledges and long term targets in the landfill of non-sustainability – and what a surprise that any investment has been conveniently shelved until after another election!” Kappler said. Kappler pointed to the strong nuclear energy lobby in Great Britain as a culprit in the continued struggle to promote renewables there. Without a strong lobbying group for renewables (although the Renewable Power Association is beginning to take on that role) the RE community faces a battle against advocates for fossil fuels and nuclear power. One report said the removal of the standard was a revenge move by Prime Minister Tony Blair because he failed to win approval of several new nuclear generating facilities. Kappler said blaming one man was short sighted, suggesting that the RE community work to positively promote itself with a unified voice. “This news has been buried while the public gaze has been focused on other matters,” said Kappler. “No doubt the Government hopes that no-one will notice until it is too late – and currently, the Renewable Energy sector is no match for the lobby strength of the conventional power industries. If abandoning the renewables target has come from the Treasury, one has to assume that it is fuelled by panic over the potential loss of the stealth revenue it attracts from the current energy environment. That is bad news.” Kappler said activists and RE advocates may still have time to effect change in the document, which still must pass through Parliament before becoming the law of the land, by contacting Energy Minister Brian Wilson. Currently, England is under a mandated to generate 10 percent of its energy with renewables by 2010. That target is not believed to be effected in the new report due out Tuesday.

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