UK Government To Miss 2020 Renewable Energy Targets

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The UK Government’s Energy and Climate Change Committee has warned the Government that the country is currently on target to miss its 2020 renewable energy targets.

MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee warned the UK Government this week that the UK will fail to achieve its 2020 renewable energy targets — to provide for 15% of its energy from renewable energy sources — if the country remains on its current course.

The UK’s overall renewable energy target is made up of three facets: sourcing 30% of its electricity, 12% of its heat energy, and 10% of transport energy from renewable energy sources. Currently, the UK is three-quarters of the way toward meeting its 30% electricity renewable energy sub-target, and is even set to exceed that target by 2020. However, the country is not even halfway toward its 12% heating target, while the proportion of renewable energy used in the transport sector actually fell in 2015.

“The experts we spoke to were clear: the UK will miss its 2020 renewable energy targets without major policy improvements,” said Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair Angus MacNeil MP. “Failing to meet these would damage the UK’s reputation for climate change leadership. The Government must take urgent action on heat and transport to renew its efforts on decarbonisation.”

The Energy and Climate Change Committee published its findings in a new report, out this week, which outlined the Committee’s belief that “the UK will fail to achieve its 2020 renewable energy targets.” Specifically, the Committee concluded that the Government’s current “proposed reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) are not the optimal pathway to the 2020 renewable heat target,” adding that many of the heat pumps being used “have proven unsatisfactory in actual use, yet are being prioritised over biomass — which has been successful.”

As regards the reversal in the UK’s transport sector’s use of renewable energy, the Committee revealed that the country’s proportion of renewable energy used in the transport sector fell from 4.93% to 4.23%. Additionally, according to the Committee, the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) which has been capped at 4.75% since 2013 “is well below the level needed to meet the 2020 target.”

Looking forward, the Committee conclude that beyond 2020, “heat and transport will likely depend on some combination of bioenergy and electrification.” Of even more relevance at the moment, given the UK’s recent decision to leave the European Union, is the level of commitment the UK will retain of the EU’s renewable energy targets. If the UK misses or reneges on the EU commitments, the MPs believe that it will undermine confidence in the Government’s commitment to its legally binding 2050 carbon targets.

“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,” explained Angus MacNeil MP. “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.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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