Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Saturday, 21 June 2008 15:56 UK

Green energy push planned for UK

solar panel
Solar panels for domestic use are already becoming popular

As many as a quarter of British homes could be fitted with solar heating panels under new government plans for a "green revolution".

Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the new proposals are "the most ambitious" such strategy that Britain has seen.

The goal is to meet the EU target of 15% of energy from renewables by 2020.

But at a time of consumer anger over fuel prices, the plan concedes that green power will cost more.

The plan will also call for 3,500 new wind turbines to be erected across the UK, the Guardian newspaper reported.

The total price tag for the proposals is pegged at 100 billion.

Mr Wicks said the plans, which may include measures to force homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, were aimed at dramatically increasing Britain's energy supplies from renewables by 2020.

'Huge momentum'

Even if climate change didn't exist these proposals would be sensible
John Sauven, Greenpeace

"You will see this week a real determination by the government to move towards 15% of all of our energy from renewables by 2020," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "That is a green revolution."

Mr Wicks insisted there was now a "huge momentum" in renewable energy provision and said the government would ensure that carbon emission reduction was the "core concept behind our energy strategy".

He described the proposals as "the most ambitious renewable energy strategy for Britain that we have ever seen".

Britain currently gets less than 5% of its electricity from renewables, mainly wind.

According to the Guardian, which has seen a copy of the government plan, the proposals seek a 30-fold increase in off-shore wind power generation, new loans and grants for businesses to increase green energy supply and a compulsory measure on households to boost efficiency.

The plans recognise that the new energy policy could transform large areas of Britain's landscape and have a "significant impacts on all our lives...not all of these positive", the Guardian reported.

wind farm
A wind farm plan off the East Yorkshire coast could power 150,000 homes

The plans, due to be unveiled next week, come after a parliamentary report warned Britain would not meet its own targets, and would fail to meet EU requirements, unless it stepped up action substantially.

Robin Webster, energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said the plan was a positive step.

"Harnessing the UK's natural abundance of wind and wave power, and developing a comprehensive energy efficiency programme will create thriving new industries and generate thousands of jobs."

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said the plans for solar panels on seven million roofs and other steps to reduce the use of fossil fuels make sense regardless of the price of oil or the state of the climate.

"We'll create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and use less gas, and in the long run our power bills will come down. Even if climate change didn't exist these proposals would be sensible."




SEE ALSO
Smaller wind farm gets go-ahead
13 Jun 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Green agenda still key - Cameron
16 Jun 08 |  UK Politics

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