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RENEWABLES
WOULD CREATE MORE JOBS
THAN NUCLEAR

Friends of the Earth (FOE) says government should support renewables rather than Nuclear energy as it would create more jobs and a healthier environment.

The British government should invest more money into wave, tidal and biomass energy, says the environmental group Friends of the Earth, because such support would create far more jobs than the nuclear industry.

Emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use must be reduced by 29% by 2010 to meet climate change targets, and FOE says the goal can be met by increased use of renewable energy and energy management. Reliance on renewables would reduce emissions by 45% by 2020 and, if support measures already in place for renewables are extended, 20% of electricity could come from green sources by 2020, it adds.

"Our report shows that new nuclear power stations are not needed to tackle global climate change," says Bryony Worthington. "The government must take heed of British Energy's financial crisis and not waste any more of the taxpayers money on this outdated technology. Instead it must look to the future and invest in clean, safe renewable energy."

British Energy, the largest nuclear generator in Britain, is asking for government support to overcome economic problems.

"If the correct incentives can be designed and implemented, investment in new cleaner technologies will not only ensure security of supply and help meet environmental targets, but will also bring economic development, increased resource efficiency and create jobs," it says. "New industries, given the right environment, can be expected to grow exponentially, as the growth in the global wind power industry is already demonstrating."

FOE prepared the study to respond to comments from energy minister Brian Wilson that nuclear will be required to meet emission targets.

"There is expected to be an increased deployment of renewable technologies thanks to the incentive created by the Renewable Energy Obligation and to a lesser degree the Climate Change Levy," it notes. "Deployment rates of these technologies will be dependent on a healthy market for renewables in the long term, effective capital grant schemes and R&D support being maintained."

Wind power will increase at a "much higher rate" than previously predicted, says FOE, with 18,265 MW of new capacity by 2020, with a large portion offshore. Landfill gas installations will provide 700 MW, while biomass will add more than 1,000 MW and new hydropower will add 200 MW of new capacity. There could be 350 MW of commercially-competitive wave capacity and 150 MW of tidal by 2010

"New renewable technologies are likely to be commercially available by the beginning of the next decade," including off-shore wave generators, tidal stream and tidal lagoon generators.

Although policies exist to stimulate increased deployment of renewables and encourage improvements in efficiency, there is "a market failure and policy vacuum concerning the choices generators make about which fuels to burn" which has prompted a shift back to coal, and FOE says this policy are "most urgently" needs new policy measures.

The emerging market for renewables must be protected by full internalizing of the costs of nuclear and no new subsidies to reactors, the group recommends, with a presumption in favour of renewables in national planning and climate change policies. Energy and agriculture policies should be integrated to encourage diversification into renewables

Written by: Refocus Weekly


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