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Britain's wind power revolution

Britain is to embark on a wind power revolution that will produce enough electricity to power every home in the country, ministers will reveal tomorrow.

The Independent on Sunday has learnt that, in an astonishing U-turn, the Secretary of State for Business, John Hutton, will announce that he is opening up the seas around Britain to wind farms in the biggest ever renewable energy initiative. Only weeks ago he was resisting a major expansion of renewable sources, on the grounds that it would interfere with plans to build new nuclear power stations.

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Mr Hutton's announcement, which will be made at a conference in Berlin tomorrow, will identify sites in British waters for enough wind farms to produce 25 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2020, in addition to the 8GW already planned - enough to meet the needs of all the country's homes.

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The move will put the country well on the way to achieving a tough EU target of providing 20 per cent of the country's energy from renewable sources by 2020. But just six weeks ago, Mr Hutton's department, far from attempting to meet the target was trying to kill it.

In a confidential memorandum, Gordon Brown was advised that the target was expensive and faced "severe practical difficulties". It went on to warn how it would reduce "the incentives to invest in other technologies like nuclear power".

But the Prime Minister overruled Mr Hutton and insisted in his first green speech as PM last month that the target would be maintained and met. Now the Business Secretary will also announce tomorrow that he is to set up a panel under his chairmanship to work out how to hit it.

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So far two things have held them back: site identification and an assurance that the resulting installations will be connected to the national grid. This move removes the former.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Dec 9th, 2007 at 05:14:23 AM EST

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