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Britain trying to water down EU green energy plans: report

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) July 24, 2008
British negotiators are trying to water down European Union plans to give priority access to green energy sources on national energy grids, The Guardian newspaper reported Thursday.

Citing documents it had obtained, the daily said Britain had proposed amendments to an EU directive, from its original draft which says that the bloc's member states "shall" give priority to renewable energy, to saying instead that they "may" do so.

The documents showed that Britain was concerned about relying too much on renewable sources of energy that were intermittent in their generation.

"The use of 'shall' could have substantial implications on network balancing and security of energy supply," the documents said.

According to the documents, Britain wanted "discretion to prioritise renewable generation", but "thermal sources" were required as a fall-back, and "over time this essential back-up generation might not be available if new renewable generation projects must be given access to the grid".

A spokesman for Britain's business ministry was quoted by The Guardian as saying: "Priority access for renewables is not necessary for us to meet our fair share of the EU renewables target."

"What renewable generators want is quicker access to the grid, not priority access. The UK is already taking significant steps to remove grid access barriers for renewables."

"It is, however, important that all forms of generation have faster access to the grid network to secure a balanced and secure energy supply.

"We are fully committed to meeting our fair share of the EU target, as demonstrated by our ambitious renewables strategy, published last month."

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Japanese town blazes trail in clean energy
Kuzumaki, Japan (AFP) July 23, 2008
Here in the mountains of northern Japan, wind, sun and even cow dung are being turned into electricity as part of efforts to turn a whole town into an experiment in renewable energy use.

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