Greening the UK

By Rob Edwards RENEWABLE energy could generate half Britain’s electricity by 2025, and for less than new nuclear or coal-fired power stations, according to a government study leaked to New Scientist. The prediction is the most optimistic yet from any government on the future of Britain’s “green” energy. Power from the Sun, wind, waves and biomass could rise from 3.2 terawatt hours in 1997 to 180 terawatt hours in 2025, says the internal briefing by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Britain’s total electricity consumption last year was 345 terawatt hours. The briefing was given last month by the DTI’s head of renewables, Godfrey Bevan, to the department’s 14-member Energy Advisory Panel. It outlines the preliminary conclusions of the government’s review of policy on renewable energy, due to be published in the autumn. According to Bevan’s briefing, the DTI has drawn up detailed scenarios in which renewables provide 20 per cent of the country’s electricity by 2010. Yet when it comes to advice, Bevan is more conservative. His most ambitious recommendation is that ministers fulfil their commitment to produce 10 per cent of energy from renewables by 2010. Greenpeace is critical of the government for not setting higher targets. “[It] should grasp the opportunity to stimulate a modern new industry for Britain,
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