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Energy Blog Britain Hits It’s 2020 Carbon Reduction Target

Britain Hits It’s 2020 Carbon Reduction Target

Chris Hurcombe
by Chris Hurcombe May 7, 2014
Renewable Energy Generation Up & Emissions Down

Britain has ‘Already Approved’ Enough Renewable Energy to Meet EU Goals

New analysis of the renewable energy projects currently in development concludes that the UK has enough renewable energy in development to meet it’s European Union-set obligations.Parliament has been working with Brussels – as indeed have all EU member states –  on ensuring that the country meets a number of ‘green’ goals by 2020, including recycling, decarbonisation and – of course – renewable energy.

With development of solar power plants, wind farms and new nuclear, Britain seemed to be on course. However the rise in energy prices and re-shuffling of agreements following concerns over increases in energy price, many were left wondering how far the UK was from meeting those renewable targets.

Putting an end to that speculation, the latest figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation show that the UK will actually be well in excess of it’s 15% target – if the 35GW capacity that is under construction or has planning consent is completed and joins the renewable energy already in use.

Conservative estimates suggest that 18GW of solar, wind and biomass energy is currently ‘in the pipeline’ , and the REF say that – even if all those in-progress projects fell through tomorrow – the 17GW of active renewable energy in use would allow the UK to meet it’s goals.

And whilst that’s good news for the UK’s renewable energy goals, the commercial energy market as a whole could have to justify a lot of it’s expenditure now that those goals have been hit.

Dr John Constable, one of the authors of the REF study, said there was “vastly more speculative activity in the planning system than is required by the targets or can be afforded by the consumer”.

Unlikely to be alone in his observation, investors and industry lobbyists alike will begin to question the need to invest further in renewables now that those legally-binding goals have been met – especially with the energy companies shouldering much of the development costs of renewable projects.

Indeed, Tim Yeo MP, Tory chairman of the energy select committee has already had to admit this week that plans for offshore wind farms might have to be scrapped in light of new green subsidy figures.

“We may need to revise downwards how much offshore wind there will be,” said Mr Yeo. “A couple of years ago the government was suggesting offshore wind will have a really big part to play. I don’t think we can afford that.

But in spite of it’s findings in their report, the REF have said that renewable energy deployment must continue at an average 17% per annum to achieve the target in earnest, and called the UK’s task ahead ‘demanding’.

The question on the UK’s place in the renewable energy energy has now changed; will this short-term goal being met signal that start of even more investment for green power in Britain, a temporary plateau, or even a dead end?