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Britain on course to miss a key renewable energy target

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 13 November 2015 at 12:45 pm

Britain is on course to miss a key renewable energy target according to Amber Rudd.  The Energy secretary has written to government colleagues to admit that we cannot meet the target and that we may incur the wrath of the EU if we don’t do more.

We have a legally binding target to produce 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.  That’s not just electrical energy, but that for heat and transport too. In terms of electrical energy we are doing well.  Just recently renewables even overtook coal by generating 25.3% of our electricity use, but in terms of the overall target we are more likely to achieve just 11.5%

The energy secretary has apparently sent a private message to government colleagues which sets out her fears that the target will not be met.  She has indicated that a judicial review and fines from Europe may follow.  However, rather than admitting the issues in public Ms Rudd has indicated that the public message should continue to be that the UK is continuing to make progress, rather than stating honest appraisals by her staff which forecast that Britain will fall far short of the target.

This all comes at a time when Government is cutting policies with abandon and severely reducing its support for PV and on shore Wind power.  David Cameron has explained that ‘every subsidy for renewable energy, if we are not careful, ends up on the bill’ and ‘it does cost, and the cost falls mostly on to small businesses and consumers’.  However, we do need to also consider who will meet the cost of the fines if they are imposed.

Labour's shadow energy secretary, Lisa Nandy has said: ‘At the very same time the Energy Secretary is telling her Cabinet colleagues in private we're not on course to meet our legal target on clean energy, she is cutting wind and solar schemes that could help us to meet it’.

Clearly there needs to be a rethink here.  Either we are going to spend money encouraging the uptake of renewable generation, which will have benefits for years to come, or we will end up paying fines to Europe which is wasted money.  I know which option I would choose.

Photo: Amber Rudd on a visit to Kingspan Energy


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