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EU expects Britain to deliver on renewable energy  

The EU Commission remains confident that Britain will deliver on its commitments to increase the use of renewable energy sources, despite doubts expressed in London, a Brussels spokesman said Monday.

British officials have told government ministers that the country has no chance of meeting its commitments under European Union plans to raise the proportion of energy made from renewable sources by 2020, a British newspaper reported.

Citing an internal briefing paper for ministers that it had obtained, The Guardian said officials believe that the best Britain can do is to produce nine percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 – EU heads of state agreed earlier this year to target 20 percent over the 27-nation bloc.

But Antonia Mochan, spokeswoman for EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik, said the 20 percent renewables target had been agreed by all EU member states and so far that goal had not been cut up into individual national targets.

“What we have heard is people saying they will not be able to reach a target that hasn’t been agreed on,” she said.

“The UK government has never expressed doubts on the need of or the feasibility of these targets so at this stage we remain confident they will deliver on the commitments they have made and that they will make when the targets a re broken down nationally”.

According to the internal document cited by The Guardian, Britain is currently on track to raise its proportion of renewables to five percent.

The briefing paper estimates that raising the proportion to nine percent would cost four billion pounds (5.9 billion euros, 8.1 billion dollars).

It asks ministers to lobby their counterparts in France, Germany, Poland and Italy, as well as European commissioners, to create some flexibility, and also suggests ministers examine “what options there are for statistical interpretations of the target that would make it easier to achieve.”

EU heads of state agreed at their spring summit for renewables to account for 20.0 percent of energy consumption across the 27-country bloc by 2020.


EU Business

14 August 2007

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