David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has called for more wind farms in the UK to boost British industry.
Speaking to more than 20 energy ministers from around the world, Mr Cameron said more renewables must be built to keep the lights on while “protecting the planet for our children and grandchildren”.
He backed plans for 70 turbines off the North East coast and gave his support to an onshore wind farm being built by the same company that wants to put up turbines in Bronte country.
“Renewables are now the fastest growing energy source on the planet,” he will say “And I am proud that Britain has played a leading role at the forefront of this green energy revolution.”
Mr Cameron’s words at the Clean Energy Ministerial in London will be seen as a riposte to many in his own party.
More than 100 Tory MPs have written to the Prime Minister to object to plans to cover the country in turbines and George Osborne, the Chancellor, has promised not to ‘burden’ business with green policies.
However, speaking at the high profile event at Lancaster House, Mr Cameron will make clear his support for both offshore and onshore wind.
He will praise the growth of industries making and installing cables to connect more wind farms around the UK.
And he will welcome plans to build six turbines at Penny Hill near Rotherham, funded by Banks Renewables, that also wants to build a wind farm on the Yorkshire moors that inspired the Brontes.
“With global demand forecast to increase by more than 40 per cent in the next two decades, we urgently need a more diverse, cleaner mix of energy sources that will give us energy security without causing irreparable damage to the planet,” he will say.
At the moment there are just over 3,000 wind turbines onshore and more than 500 offshore in the UK but the number on land could more than double while turbines offshore will increase by ten times in the next decade.
At the moment the UK generates 4.7GW onshore and about 1.6GW offshore. But the Coalition’s ‘Renewable Energy Roadmap’ calls for 13GW onshore and 18GW offshore by 202.
The UK has to generate a third of electricity from renewables by 2020 to meet EU targets, most of which will come from wind as the cost of the technology becomes cheaper.
Mr Cameron said the growth in renewables will continue as costs come down.
“Britain has gone from virtually no capacity for renewables, to seeing them provide almost 10 per cent of our total electricity needs last year,”said Mr Cameron. And we’ve added more capacity for renewables in the last two years than at any time in the last decade.
“Our commitment and investment in renewable energy has helped to make renewable energy possible. Now we have a different challenge. We need to make it financially sustainable.”
Samantha Smith, leader of the Global Climate and Energy Initiative at WWF-International, who accompanied David Cameron to the Arctic some six years ago for the infamous ‘hug a husky’ shot said the Prime Minister must commit to renewables.
“The International Energy Agency has warned that failure to invest urgently in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies could lock the world into temperature increases of up to 6˚C, substantially above the global goal to prevent temperature rises of more than 2˚C. To address this threat, decarbonising our energy systems and moving towards renewable forms of energy is an absolute necessity.
However green groups said Mr Cameron has yet to persuade the rest of his Cabinet to support green energy.
Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said the Chancellor needs to give more backing to technologies like wind.
“The Treasury has been marginalising renewable energy, but evidence in the UK and from around the world shows renewable energy should be at the heart of Government’s growth strategy.
“We recommend the Chancellor attends the Clean Energy Ministerial. The potential for renewable energy to stimulate much needed growth and employment is understood by the major economies attending this important event today. The UK should be taking this major economic opportunity every bit as seriously.”
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