Energy and Climate Change Committee warns UK set to miss 2020 renewable targets

Written by Josh May on 9 September 2016 in News

Renewable heat and transport targets set to be missed

Westminster - credit: PA

The UK is likely to miss its 2020 renewables targets, according to a new report from the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The UK Government is committed to providing 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by the end of the decade – including 30 per cent of electricity, 12 per cent of heat, and 10 per cent of transport.

But the Energy and Climate Change Committee has warned that, while the electricity goal looked like being exceeded, policy changes would be required to hit the targets for heat and transport.


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Today’s report warned a failure to meet the levels set out in the legislation would “undermine confidence in its commitment to other targets”.

“Our overarching concern is that the UK is at risk of failing to meet the targets not because they are impossible, but because Government departments have not cooperated effectively,” said the MPs.

“Heat and renewable transport incentives are administered through completely separate incentives, with both sectors competing for resources.”

They said the creation of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy could help join up the Government's strategy - or could be used to downgrade energy and climate change targets by scrapping its dedicated department.

The MPs recommend changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) initiatives to help make progress towards the targets.

The role of renewables in transport fell backwards last year, while the proportion of heat from renewable sources is less than half the 2020 target.

The thresholds were first set out by EU legislation and adopted into British law in 2009, but committee chairman Angus MacNeil said the recent vote for Brexit did not remove the UK’s obligations.

“We agreed our 2020 renewable energy targets as part of the EU but they still have many merits, even as the UK Government prepares for Brexit,” the SNP MP added. 

“If the UK reneges on these targets, it will undermine confidence in the Government’s commitment to clean energy and the climate targets agreed in Paris.

“Progress has been slow, but this must be taken as a call to action, not an excuse for backtrack.”

A government spokesman said renewable energy “already makes up around 25 per cent of our electricity and we're on track to hit our overall targets”.

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