The UK looks set to miss a series of targets for renewable energy put in place by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).
EREC released a report in February that warned governments against “harmful behaviour” such as “cuts to support schemes or moratoriums on new projects”. The UK was ranked 25th out of 27 member states.
The news comes after the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) issued a press release on Friday saying that funds of £15m were being made available to communities wishing to engage with renewable energy projects.
The funds are offered to cover environmental and planning permits. Energy minister Greg Barker said, “This investment will help kick start hundreds of clean green energy projects in rural areas across England. This new fund will give aspiring communities access to the cash they need to make this happen.”
The government is approaching the transformation to renewable energy cautiously, however, with the aim of putting the views of local communities first. Only last month it announced new guidelines that will give communities the power to block onshore wind projects.
Former energy minister John Hayes was quoted in the Telegraph in October saying, “Enough is enough” and that we can “no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities”.
He emphasised the importance of us having to protect our “green and pleasant land” and in his new role as an adviser to David Cameron, is thought to have been influential in progressing the new onshore wind policy.
The EREC’s Keep on track! project – which is co-ordinated by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) – aims to monitor that the actual deployment of renewable energy across the EU is in line with the Renewable Energy Directive’s (RED) trajectories towards the final 20% share.
The chart below shows the intended effect of Keep on track! in terms of tackling any shortfalls in the deployment trajectory.
According to an REA survey, 96% of the renewables industry is apprehensive about the UK’s chances of meeting the 20% target by 2020. Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said, “Whilst renewable capacity is clearly increasing and public support is there for it, I personally wouldn’t imagine that this renewables target is going to be met by 2020.
“It’ll be met eventually, and then we’ll go on beyond it, but I don’t think 2020 is realistic. But we shouldn’t let up the pressure.”