UK emphasises support for renewables

24 May 2006 – UK Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to renewable energy today during a keynote address to the All Energy conference in Aberdeen.

The Energy Minister also highlighted the positive findings from the first DTI commissioned NOP survey – published today – into public attitudes towards renewables and announced details of £1.2m ($2.25m) in grants that have been awarded to 16 separate solar energy projects. One of which will be part of the Hebridean Isle of Eigg’s groundbreaking renewable energy scheme.

Wicks said: “The Prime Minister’s recent speech to the CBI put renewable energy firmly on the agenda and that is a message I want to re-iterate.

“The Government’s target is that 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2010 and this will provide a solid foundation that can be built on in order that they can make an even greater contribution to the mix as we look to bridge any future energy gap.

“To do this we will need more schemes like the Whitelee wind farm which was recently given the green light by the Scottish Executive. This project will be the largest onshore wind farm in Europe when it is completed and will provide clean energy for 200 000 homes, almost the whole of Glasgow.”

“Interestingly, the NOP survey commissioned by the DTI finds that despite all the hot air and scepticism from certain quarters, 85 per cent of the general public support the use of renewable energy, 81 per cent are in favour of wind power and just over three fifths would be happy to live within 5 km of a wind power development.

“But it’s not just large scale renewable energy projects that we want to encourage but also more localised generation, such as micro wind turbines, solar panels and combined heat and power biomass boilers. That is why I am pleased to announce details of the successful applicants from the final round of funding under the Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme. The 16 schemes across the UK will share almost £1.2m to help install solar panels and reduce the carbon emissions from their buildings.

“Funding support for solar and the other types of microgeneration technologies will now continue through the £80m Low Carbon Buildings Programme that was announced in the spring.”