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EU to tell UK to increase renewable energy production ‘six-fold’ by 2020

News

16th January, 2008

Britain has the lowest share of renewable energy of any major EU country: only Malta and Luxemburg have less. The EU is set to change this next week when it delivers a country by country breakdown of its green energy plan.

The plan will pledge to cut carbon emissions to 20 per cent below 1990 levels, boost renewable generation to 20 per cent of supply and increase biofuels to 10 percent of vehicle fuel by 2020. The current renewable average across the EU is 8.5 per cent. Next week the EU will set the proportion each of the EU’s 27 members will have to achieve to raise the average to 20 per cent.

According to Financial Times analysis using the Commission model, Sweden would end up with more than 50 per cent of its energy coming from renewables, while Germany could have about 18 per cent and France more than 20 per cent.

There is considerable opposition to the plans that are seen by some as a legacy attempt by Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac who led the proposal but aren’t around to see it implemented. The current French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is opposed to the plan and the French and German governments are building a coalition against the proposals.

Britain’s efforts will focus on renewable electricity generation. Greenpeace says even the UK target of generating 15 per cent of electricity from renewables in 2015 would still fall far short of the target, because electricity only accounts for a minor part of the UK's total energy use. Heating - heavily dependent on gas - and transport fuel, where there are fewer alternatives, account for the bulk of UK energy use.

 

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