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Britain outlines wind farm expansion plans

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) June 26, 2008
Thousands of new wind turbines could be built across Britain by 2020 as part of multi-billion pound plans to switch to more sustainable energy sources, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Thursday.

Setting out the London government's plans for greater investment in and reliance on renewables, Brown envisaged Britain's coastal waters being turned "into the equivalent for wind power of what the Gulf of Arabia is for the oil industry".

This year, Britain would pass Denmark as the country with the world's highest operating offshore wind capacity of more than 400 megawatts, he told a low carbon economy summit in London.

"By 2020 we will have installed around 14 gigawatts -- that is around 3,000 offshore wind turbines, meeting up to 50 percent of our renewable electricity," he added, stating he wanted Britain to be a leader in "clean energy."

"The North Sea has now passed its peak of oil and gas supply -- but it will now embark on a new transformation into the global centre of the offshore wind industry," he added.

There will have to be more windfarms onshore too, despite criticism including from those who say they blight the landscape, he said.

A government blueprint announced later set out plans for 7,000 new wind turbines -- 4,000 onshore and 3,000 offshore -- greater support for "green" energy and allowing renewables into the national power grid.

Brown also renewed his commitment to greater use of wind, wave and nuclear power to move Britain away from its reliance on oil and fossil fuels, amid spiralling prices, in order to secure its future energy supplies and meet carbon reduction targets.

Currently about eight percent of Britain's total energy supply comes from low carbon sources -- two percent from renewables and six percent from nuclear.

Britain has a European Union-imposed target to produce 15 percent of its energy supply from renewables by 2020. Brown said to do so would require 100 billion pounds (126 billion euros, 198 billion dollars) of investment.

The measures would see Britain generate up to a third of its energy supply from renewables to meet the target, Brown added.

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Study calls for renewable energy progress
Santa Monica, Calif. (UPI) Jun 26, 2008
U.S. analysts say they've found an urgent need for major progress in technology if even 25 percent renewable energy use is to be affordable.

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