The government will this week unveil plans for a five-fold increase in energy generation from wind, solar, tidal and agricultural sources as a key measure in its long-awaited energy review. Proposals to raise the level of electricity produced by these sources from 4 per cent to 20 per cent of the UK’s needs, along with moves to prioritise support towards promising technologies that are currently uneconomic such as offshore wind farms, will be outlined in the document, to be published on Tuesday. The boost will be emphasised by ministers to head off criticisms of the government’s backing for nuclear power, which forms a key part of the strategy. In the 120-page document, the final draft of which has been seen by The Observer, the government concludes that nuclear power is now economically viable and that it should play a role in the UK’s future need for sources of carbon-free and secure energy. The government is concerned that without nuclear, the UK will become dependent on gas, moving from 38 per cent of today’s supply to 55 per cent by 2020, with up to 90 per cent of this imported – largely from potentially unstable regions such as the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Russia. Three years ago it drew the opposite conclusion in its last Energy White Paper. The review says that the closure of nuclear and coal plants over the coming decade will mean 25 gigawatts of carbon-free, secure capacity must be built by 2020 – some 30 per cent of today’s total capacity.
Observer 9th July 2006
BBC 9th July 2006
Six new nuclear power plants will form a key part of the energy review.
Daily Mail 10th July 2006