UK Will Miss Renewable Targets – Amber Rudd
By Paul Homewood
Britain will miss a major legally-binding renewable energy target, Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, has privately admitted in a letter to other cabinet ministers leaked to the press.
In a candid private message to senior Tories, Ms Rudd downplayed the chances of the UK sourcing 15 per cent of energy, including for transport, power and heating, from renewables by 2020.
She warned that the “absence of a credible plan” to meet the target could trigger repeated fines from the EU Court of Justice and a judicial review.
Ms Rudd also said that while internal forecasts predicted Britain will fall short of the goal, “publically" the government would say the country "continues to make progress” to hit it.
The leaked letter, which was published by The Ecologist magazine, triggered criticism from green campaigners who said it revealed the government’s failures to protect renewables.
Ms Rudd’s frank letter was sent on October 29 to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office, Greg Hands, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Patrick McLoughlin the Transport Secretary.
“I am writing to inform you of current UK progress towards the EU 2020 renewables target and the work underway to agree the Government’s strategy for meeting the target,” Ms Rudd wrote.
She added: “The absence of a credible plan to meet the target carries the risk of successful judicial review, and failing to meet the overall target in 2020 could lead to on-going fines imposed by the EU Court of Justice (which could take into account avoided costs) until the UK reaches the target level.”
Amber Rudd, of course, is between a rock and a hard place. She knows full well the target cannot be achieved without a big increase in subsidies, which are currently limited by the Levy Control Framework. She also knows that hopes that renewable energy would make a big contribution to transport and domestic heating were just pie in the sky.
I suspect she is putting the options on the table for the rest of the Cabinet to decide.
The target for renewables to achieve 15% of total energy consumption by 2020 was widely rumoured to have been down to a gross misunderstanding by Tony Blair, who thought it only applied to electricity. Last year we managed to produce just 8%.
However, we certainly aren’t alone. For instance, France, despite much more hydro, could only manage 9%, whilst Poland languished at less than 5%.
The greenies are aghast that we might end up breaking the law. But there is a simple alternative – change the law and tell the EU where they can stick their fines!