On 24 March , the UK government published its long-awaited Energy White Paper to a mixed reaction from the 'experts'. The Energy White Paper details the government's new energy policy to ensure that 'energy, the environment and economic growth are properly and sustainably integrated'.
The UK is facing a decline in its indigenous energy supplies - we will soon be a net importer of energy, by for gas and for oil. By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol , the UK government is legally bound to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases from levels.
By there will only be one nuclear power plant in operation and since the government currently has no plans to build new plants, they need to develop alternative energy sources. The White Paper puts forward plans to avoid over-dependence on imported energy by developing renewable energy sources within the UK.
Energy efficiency - the cheapest and safest way of addressing all four aims - through 'policies to raise the energy efficiency of products and buildings'. Increasing renewable energy supply - to reduce carbon emissions and our dependence on imported energy by increasing the funding for capital grants for renewable energy and adapting electricity distribution networks so that renewable energy sources can both take from and add to the 'national grid'.
Carbon emissions trading scheme - setting caps on emissions in industry to 'provide clear incentives for investment in energy efficiency and cleaner technologies'. Technological innovation - supporting research and development into new long term options such as hydrogen economy and allowing current renewable energy supplies to 'demonstrate their potential'.
Critics say that in the White Paper the government fail to make a firm commitment to producing electricity from green sources. The White Paper does not address the problem of carbon emissions from aircraft, whose proportion of total emissions is increasing.
The increase in energy from renewable sources will not be sufficient to replace the loss of energy from nuclear power. As a result, it is likely that carbon emissions will actually increase due to a reliance on power from imported gas or coal.
Renewable Energy 101 - National Geographic
It has been called a 'reckless policy' by Professor Ian Fells British energy adviser who thinks that it could have serious consequences for other environmental goals. Web Links Energy White Paper.
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What is it?
What is it? Background The UK is facing a decline in its indigenous energy supplies - we will soon be a net importer of energy, by for gas and for oil.
What are the aims? There are four goals for the government's new energy policy: cutting carbon dioxide emissions maintaining the reliability of energy supplies promoting "competitive markets in the UK and beyond" ensuring that every home is adequately and affordably heated How will these be achieved?
What do the critics say?