The British government has taken the first step to force all licensed electricity suppliers to provide at least 3 percent of their power sales from renewable resources by March 2003. That level will rise to 10.4 percent by March 2011.LONDON, England, UK, 2001-08-17 [SolarAccess.com] The British government has taken the first step to force all licensed electricity suppliers to provide at least 3 percent of their power sales from renewable resources by March 2003. That level will rise to 10.4 percent by March 2011. Energy minister Brian Wilson has announced the ‘Renewables Obligation’ that will have a period of consultation among affected parties. It will then come into effect early next year, subject to Parliamentary approval and clearance from the European Commission. The Renewables Obligation will result in a major increase in Britain’s percentage of electricity from wind and other renewable sources, and is a key to securing 10 percent of power sales from renewables by 2010. The latest proposals will boost renewables by an estimated £1 billion, will encourage new technologies to extract energy from waste rather than incinerate it, and point to even more ambitious targets for renewable energy in the longer term. “I’ve listened to the comments made in the last consultation and am satisfied that these policies will encourage generation from truly renewable energy sources, minimizing all harmful emissions,” says Wilson. Cleaner technologies, such as pyrolysis and gasification, will be encouraged as an alternative to mass burn waste incineration. Electricity from these techniques will only receive Obligation support for the biodegradable element of the waste. Energy from waste incineration and energy from fossil waste will not count towards the ‘green’ percentage. Electricity generated from biomass (such as energy crops) will be eligible under the Renewables Obligation. The British government recently announced a ‘New Deal for Hydro,’ under which all new hydroelectric facilities will be eligible under the Obligation, including sites over 20 MW of capacity. Smaller facilities that have been built or refurbished since 1989 will also qualify, as well as small hydro schemes under 1.25 MW, which do not have to be refurbished. The Renewables Obligation will mean that licensed British electricity suppliers will have to provide a specified proportion of their sales from renewables in future years. In this way, the government wants to actively encourage the increased supply of renewable electricity while leaving the choice of technologies to the market.