Government and Public Backs for Renewable Energy in UK

UK Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to renewable energy during a keynote address to the All-Energy conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Wicks also announced GBP 1.2 million [US$2.2 million] in grants for 16 solar energy projects, one of which will be part of the Hebridean Isle of Eigg’s renewable energy plan.

“The Prime Minister’s recent speech to the CBI [Confederation of British Industry] put renewable energy firmly on the agenda and that is a message I want to reiterate, said Wicks. “The Government’s target is that 10% of the UK’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2010 and this will provide a solid foundation that can be built on in order that they can make an even greater contribution to the mix as we look to bridge any future energy gap.” “To do this we will need more schemes like the Whitelee wind farm which was recently given the green light by the Scottish Executive. This project will be the largest onshore wind farm in Europe when it is completed and will provide clean energy for 200,000 homes, almost the whole of Glasgow.” Drawing from the first Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) commissioned National Opinion Poll (NOP) survey into public attitudes towards renewables, Wicks said: “Interestingly, the NOP survey commissioned by the DTI finds that despite all the hot air and skepticism from certain quarters, 85% of the general public support the use of renewable energy, 81% are in favor of wind power and just over three-fifths would be happy to live within 5 km of a wind power development.” “But it’s not just large scale renewable energy projects that we want to encourage but also more localized generation, such as micro wind turbines, solar panels and combined heat and power biomass boilers. That is why I am pleased to announce details of the successful applicants from the final round of funding under the Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Program. The 16 schemes across the UK will share almost GBP1.2 million to help install solar panels and reduce the carbon emissions from their buildings,” Wicks added.

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