November 30, 2010 / 12:25 AM / 10 years ago

UK likely to miss green energy targets -report

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will miss its 2010 goal of making 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources because of government dithering, according to a public accounts committee report published on Tuesday.

It said it was also unlikely to meet its legally-binding European Union target for 2020.

According to a parliamentary public accounts report into funding of renewable energy, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has admitted it will not meet the government’s own target of increasing the share of low-carbon renewable energy in Britain’s electricity supply to 10 percent by the end of 2010.

DECC estimates that over 30 percent of electricity will have to come from renewable sources by 2020 in order to meet the target set by the EU to get 15 percent of all Britain’s energy from renewables by the end of the decade.

But the share of renewables crept slowly up from 2.7 percent in 2000 to just 6.7 percent at the end of 2009, making Britain one of Europe’s worst performing countries for green energy growth and making it very difficult to reach the 2020 goals.

“The Department will have to have a greater sense of urgency and purpose if it is to achieve the dramatic increase in renewable energy supplies needed to meet them,” Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said.

“We are concerned that the Department agreed to the legally binding EU-target to supply 15 percent of the UK’s energy from renewable sources by 2020, without clear plans, targets for each renewable energy technology, estimates of funding required or understanding how the rate at which planning applications for onshore wind turbines were being rejected might affect progress.”

Although the DECC is responsible for ensuring Britain reaches the targets — aimed at cutting emissions of climate warming gases from the energy sector — funding is delivered through a number of routes that it does not control.

“The Department does not have a clear understanding of how much has been spent or what has been achieved,” the report said, adding that DECC had spent only about half the money available to encourage renewable energy.

The committe said DECC had been generally slow in implementing green energy growth plans and was taking too long to complete its review of subsidies for different technologies under the government’s main scheme, called the Renewables Obligation.

The report authors said they were “most concerned” that the review of funding under the RO would not be completed until the summer of 2011 and would not be implemented until April 2013.

Potential developers of renewable energy projects have said they could delay projects until it is clear what level of funding the different technologies — from offshore wind to solar and wave power — will get.

The report says some 40 percent of renewable schemes in England do not get planning approval, while others fail to get adequate funding.

Reporting by Daniel Fineren

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