The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, whilst giving evidence at a Parliamentary committee confirmed that it was ‘difficult to say’ if the UK was on track to meet its 2020 renewable energy target of 15% of all energy from renewables.
The UK target is lower than the pan-EU target of 20% because the UK has always trailed most other European countries on renewables deployment.
But in a letter, Rudd has now confirmed that the UK is on track to reach just 11.5% renewable energy electricity generation by 2020 – leaving the UK at risk of delivering only slightly better than half the contribution from renewables as the rest of Europe.
The Minister also confirmed that they were looking at making up the targets potentially from importing renewable power from overseas. Amber Rudd has also highlighted the potential to increase the role of renewable transport, while underlining the Department for Transport’s focus on electric vehicles.
There is nothing in the EU Renewables directive that stipulates the share of the 15% between electricity, heat and transport.
See also 11 Nov 2015
Scotland set to miss Salmond’s target of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2020
Meanwhile, the London-based World Energy Council has downgraded the UK’s previous triple-A rating for a secure and balanced energy policy to AAB.
The WEC report ranks countries on their policies to keep the lights on, bills and carbon emissions down.
It says the UK has been a leader in these policies, but said the government’s drastic withdrawal of subsidies for wind and solar power has deterred investors needed for new energy supplies.
Electricity has become comparatively more expensive, and the UK remains on a “watch-list” over how it will secure its future energy supply.
A spokesman for the Solar Trade Association commented: “It is clearly absurd to be decimating the most cost effective renewable power technologies while exploring the potential to make up the UK renewable target shortfall by importing renewable electricity from overseas.
“The solar industry has already seen the Government prioritise public support towards more expensive overseas utilities over British solar. It is very difficult to understand the lack of interest in supporting British companies.”
“The Secretary of State herself said she would rather meet the target at home, so why is she decimating our industry & looking for electricity from overseas?”
The STA is extremely keen to see action on renewable heat, a sector highlighted by the Secretary of State. The UK is exceptionally poor on renewable heat and it has almost the lowest contribution in Europe. The solar thermal market has collapsed in recent years due to inadequate support.
The Solar Trade Association’s £1 ‘sun tax’ rescue plan for solar power would deliver 2.7GW of solar power by 2020. This amounts to just 0.17% of total energy in 2020 – the UK renewable energy target is 15% – leaving huge scope for advancing the heat and transport sub-targets. However, the £1 Plan would safeguard the solar power sector.