Electricity suppliers will have to buy more than 15 per cent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2016 under a government campaign to step up support for green energy.
Stephen Timms, the Energy minister, said yesterday that the Government was extending its renewables obligation scheme - a plan that forces electricity suppliers to provide a proportion of sales from renewable sources - by another five years.
"We have responded to the calls of the renewable sector to give stability beyond 2010," Mr Timms said. "In giving an increased level of certainty to the renewables industry, we are providing the ingredients for more confidence on the part of the investment sector."
The targets set out yesterday will force suppliers to provide 15.4 per cent of their power from renewable sources, such as wind turbines, by 2015-16.
The Government has called on the industry to generate 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The level now stands at 4.3 per cent compared with 3 per cent when the scheme was introduced last year.
"As well as making a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions, increasing the contribution of renewables offers the prospect of developing a significant UK industry, creating jobs and developing world class companies able to compete for the growing renewables business here and overseas," Mr Timms said.
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