Brussels, 24 Oct 2002
UK Minister for Energy, Brian Wilson, has admitted that the country is lagging behind its European neighbours in the use renewable energy, despite investing 19 million GBP (30.16 million euro) in research and development (R&D) in the field.
EU countries generate, on average, 14 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources, whereas the UK figure is only 2.6 per cent. In Spain, 17 per cent of electricity is generated by renewables, and this figure is expected to rise to 24 per cent by 2010.
'We will need to run very hard if we are even going to catch up,' said Mr Wilson, speaking at an Anglo-Spanish energy seminar in Madrid on 22 October.
Mr Wilson said that industry must take advantage of the government support available and use it to take renewable projects forward. In turn, the government would do everything possible to ensure that interest and momentum are maintained, he said.
The UK minister also claimed that climate change cannot be suitably addressed without first assessing the role of nuclear power. 'The question of whether we maintain civil nuclear industries must be placed firmly within the context of the climate change debate. Merely talking about keeping the options open at some point becomes a euphemism for closing the options down,' said Mr Wilson.