Doubts over UK's ability to meet renewable targets

15th April 2011

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  • Mitigation ,
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The UK's failure to meet its aim of sourcing 10% of energy renewably in 2010 has raised questions as to whether the country can meet its EU 2020 targets, according to one sustainability charity.

The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), which works to promote the benefits of renewable energy, has published its analysis of DECC and Ofgem data on energy production and it reveals that only 6.5% of electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2010.

REF argues that the figures confirm “longstanding doubts” as to the feasibility of the 2010 target, and the still more ambitious target for 2020.

John Constable, director of policy and research for REF, said: “The EU’s renewable targets have long been known to lack credibility and clarity of purpose.

“In spite of very high costs to consumers, the 2010 target has been missed by a large margin, and that consequently the EU 2020 target is plainly beyond reach.

“The counterproductive target-led renewable policy agenda to 2020 has now reached the end of the road, and should be replaced with a more feasible and reasoned strategy.”

However, in response DECC says that the failure to meet the target, which wasn’t legally binding, was discussed in parliament on 8 December 2010 when energy minister Charles Hendry explained it wouldn’t be met owing to failure to make sufficient progress in previous years.

A spokesperson said: “We are on track for the first interim renewable energy target of 4% over 2011/12 and our analysis shows that meeting our 2020 target is challenging but achievable.”

REF’s analysis revealed lower than expected output from wind accounted for some of the shortfall, with onshore plant’s output falling from 27% in 2009 to 21%, but DECC has argued that overall renewable electricity capacity increased by 12%.

“Furthermore, based on the current pipeline, we estimate there could be an additional 3GW operational capacity installed in the UK over the next 18 months,” said the DECC spokesperson.

DECC has also confirmed that it will soon publish a renewables roadmap setting out how the department will drive faster deployment through the next decade.

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