DECC faces Renewable Sources Challenge

By David Bicknell

Interesting story from Reuters today saying Britain will miss its 2010 goal of making 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources, according to a Public Accounts Committee report.

According to the PAC report into the 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.

The share of renewables crept slowly up from 2.7 percent in 2000 to 6.7 percent at the end of 2009, leaving Britain lagging in performance for green energy growth and making it a challenge to reach the 2020 goals.

According to PAC chairman Margaret Hodge, DECC 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 the goals.”

The PAC went on, “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, which are aimed at cutting emissions of climate warming gases from the energy sector, funding is actually delivered through a number of routes that DECC does not control.

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.

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