UNTIL recently Britain had grand renewable-energy ambitions. Its prime minister had solar panels on his London house and once claimed that he would lead the country’s “greenest government ever”. And for those who feared that these were hollow gestures, the European Union rules would help keep Britain on course. But with David Cameron’s departure from politics and the country’s imminent withdrawal from the EU, environmentalists may start to fret.The good news is that, for now at least, Britain is still bound by the EU’s renewable-energy targets set out in 2009. One such goal is that 30% of the electricity supply should come from renewable sources by 2020. The country is on track. In 2015 around 25% of Britain’s electricity was generated from a variety of renewable sources including tidal, hydro, solar and biomass power stations. And as befits the windiest country in Europe, the biggest source of Britain’s renewable energy is wind power. It has nearly 7,000 wind turbines, with an installed capacity of over 14 gigawatts, and the world’s largest offshore wind turbine array. Despite their inefficiency—the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy calculates that wind turbines onshore run at only 27.3% of their potential capacity, with offshore wind farms performing slightly better at 36.9%—wind turbines will provide 10% of Britain’s total energy demand by …Economist.com


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