It's time for leaders to lead by example
Posted by Rupert Higgin on 22 October 2014 at 8:58 am
It’s been a decade since the block of 28 European states (EU28), including the UK, committed to the target of ensuring that 15% of all energy consumed would be from renewable sources by 2020. So how are we faring towards achieving this legally binding target? Well, the latest statistics don’t make for a great read.
According to a recent survey published by the European Community’s statistical body ‘Eurostat’, Britain is lagging far behind nearly all of the other nations with just 4.2% of its energy derived from green resources; only Luxembourg (3.1%) and Malta (4.1%) are faring worse. This meagre score falls far below the EU28 average of 14.1% and is at least ten times less than either France or Germany’s renewable contribution.
The bottom line is that with an 11.8% gap to make up in the six years remaining, it’s looking most improbable that we’re going to hit the energy target at the current trajectory.
Less than a third of the way towards the target, it’s time that David Cameron put his money where his mouth is by taking bigger steps towards becoming “the greenest government ever”. What we need is for the Government to lead by example through a coherent strategy that shows a much greater commitment to sustainable energy.
The DECC has been apportioned £40 million in funds to help bolster green energy production between now and 2020. By now every suitable rooftop of every public building, including hospitals, schools, libraries, museums and hospitals, should be clad with appropriate renewables technology. With the DECC’s recent decision to extend permitted development rights to commercial systems over 50kWp, there really isn’t any excuse.
Whatever action is taken, Britain has a lot of catching up to do. Yet, although it would take a herculean effort to meet the 2020 targets, it’s not too late to get the country back on track. Perhaps the best starting point could be for government buildings and departments to start by looking at their own use of renewables and for them to start leading by example.
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About the author: Rupert Higgin is the Managing Director of TGE Group
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