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UK wants to downgrade renewable investment, scrap 2030 targets?

UK wants to downgrade renewable investment, scrap 2030 targets?

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Is atomic or renewable energy the best way forward in Britain?

Is atomic or renewable energy the best way forward in Britain? The UK government want nuclear power to supply more of Britain's requiremnts -- which would throw EU renewable energy stipulations and targets into disarray.

Much to the discomfort of sustainability groups and renewable energy activists, the UK's renewable energy sector is already facing threats from attacked subsidies, contracts being sent abroad, and opposition to the construction of wind farms.

In the latest blow to a renewable energy future, the UK's coalition government wants to equalize the state of nuclear energy with opposing renewable energy sources, according to a document viewed by the Guardian.

One of the most influential forces that is shaping the future of renewable energy in Europe is that of the European Union's stipulation on what countries must achieve in terms of their energy use in the future.

The current target, which is meant to be achieved by 2020, is that of European countries insuring 20 percent of their energy expenditure comes from renewable sources -- such as solar power and wind technology.

The leaked document reads:

"The UK envisages multiple low-carbon technologies: renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage, all competing freely against each other in the years to come [...] For this reason, we cannot support a 2030 renewables target."

However, the paper does recommend "some kind of target for 2030". If this was altered to become a low-carbon energy aim, then nuclear sources would potentially be an acceptable avenue -- as it does maintain low carbon emissions -- coming behind coal and gas, and also electricity generated by hydro or solar power.

However, if the UK government has ulterior motives for this recommendation, attempting to facilitate more competition within the energy industry may not be a successful one.

In an economy where the UK's renewable energy industry has borne the brunt of cuts, subsidy removal, and limited competition through contracts being secured by foreign companies -- the nuclear sector has enjoyed over six decades of public support and subsidies.

[via: The Guardian]

Image credit: Dennis Hill

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure