Great Britain is in danger of lagging behind other European countries in meeting targets for renewable energy production, the government will be told today. Chris Morris, general manager of Powergen Renewables will tell a parliamentary renewable and sustainable conference that developers are being hampered by local opposition and planning delays as a result of which, little more than a quarter of government assisted renewable schemes go ahead.

The UK target for renewable energy is 10 per cent up from the present level of 3 per cent. Wind power is expected to be the largest contributor but local councils have “Refused consent or avoided decisions contrary to their own professional advice” said Morris, rather than face down local not-in-my-backyard campaigns. Morris wants planning permission speeded up but accepts that developers need to be more sensitive about choice of sites.

China will take up more new and renewable energy sources this century as part of efforts to reduce environment damage and promote sustainable development, it was revealed at a Sino-Italian international symposium. By the year 2015, the power created annually by the new and renewable energies in China is expected to be equivalent to that produced by some 43 million tons of standard coal, supposedly making up 2 per cent of the then overall energy consumed, said reliable sources.

This means a save of about 60 million tons of coal every year, which is expected to effect a sharp reduction in the emissions of sulfur dioxide and many other pollutants. Jointly organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Italian Ministry of the Environment and the Foreign Trade Commission, the two-day event aims to promote co-operation on environmental protection between the two countries.

Taiwan’s government has been urged to remove legal obstacles to the use of wind energy in the country. Cheng Hsien-you, a senior executive of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, said at a press conference that a German firm, Infra Vest gmbh, plans to invest NT$12 billion (US$348 million) in establishing wind power plants along Taiwan’s western coast. “The investment project has received a warm welcome from several local governments, including Taichung County, Hsinchu City and Miaoli County,” Cheng said. The project, however, has been hampered by existing regulations governing land use and electricity purchases by state-owned Taiwan Power Co., Cheng said.

Noting that wind power generation has been regarded as a new industry for the 21st century, Cheng said the government should amend outdated regulations and legislate new statutes to facilitate the realization of Infra Vest’s investment project. “As Taiwan is endowed with rich resources of wind power, the investment in clean wind power would certainly have a positive effect on Taiwan’s economy and environment,” Cheng said.

According to Cheng, the annual growth of wind energy use around the world has reached 50 per cent over the past decade. “Taiwan should not lag this global trend,” he noted, adding that wind power is clean and would contribute to Taiwan’s sustainable growth. Cheng further said the electricity charge for wind power is estimated at NT$2.5 per, close to the current charge of NT$2 per kilowatt-hour in Taiwan.