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UK wants to lower renewable energy target

Staff writer |
Britain has proposed a way to lower the European Union's 2020 target for renewable energy by counting the contribution from biofuels twice, avoiding the need for billions of euros in investment, a document shows.

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Policy on transport fuel made from crops and other plant matter has stirred heated debate because of concern some biofuels add to greenhouse emissions and drive up food prices, writes EurActiv. Energy ministers later this week will debate policy reform.

Diplomats said the British biofuel idea was attracting support from several member states, although they did not specify which. Dominant EU power Germany opposes it, they said.

In a document seen by Reuters, Britain sets out the financial benefits of an accounting method that would include biofuels towards an overall renewable energy target as well as a sub-target for reducing the emissions of transport fuel. A move EurActiv has initally reported about in November.

It would reduce to 19.6% an EU-wide target to get 20% of energy from renewable sources, equating to up to 60.9 terawatt hours (TWh) and savings of 5.4 billion euros ($7.4 billion) per year by 2020 on investment that would have been spent on renewable power, the British analysis shows.

Britain, which is looking to nuclear energy for carbon-free power, is one of the nations that falls short of its share of the EU renewable goal. Member states that fail to meet their targets could eventually face stiff financial penalties.

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