UK pledges to hit all-renewable electricity by 2035

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a mug, during a visit to a construction site in Manchester, England, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (Phil Noble/PA via AP)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — All Britain’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2035, the governing Conservatives announced Monday, saying the move would help end the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said “the only way to strengthen Britain’s energy security is zero carbon power that is generated in this country.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said he believed the U.K. could get to get to “complete clean energy production” — including renewable sources and nuclear power — by the middle of the next decade.

Britain gets a big chunk of its energy from renewable sources such as wind and sun, and has largely ended the use of coal power, but remains heavily reliant on natural gas. Surging gas prices worldwide are driving up energy bills for millions of people in Britain.

“The advantage of that is that it will mean that, for the first time, the U.K. is not dependent on hydrocarbons coming from overseas with all the vagaries in hydrocarbon prices and the risk that poses for people’s pockets and for the consumer,” Johnson said in Manchester, where the governing Conservatives are holding their annual conference.

Johnson is eager to burnish Britain’s green credentials before a major U.N. climate summit that is due to open in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of October. Johnson, as host, is trying to get other world leaders to increase their carbon-cutting pledges so the world can keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace U.K., welcomed what he called the British government’s realization “that gas needs to be taken out of the electricity system,” but said he was disappointed by the continuing commitment to nuclear energy.

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