Government to miss 2020 renewable energy targets


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

The overall obligation includes three sub-targets: 30% in electricity, 12% in heat and 10% in transport. The UK is three-quarters of the way towards its 30% electricity sub-target and is expected to exceed it by 2020, but it is not yet halfway towards 12% in heat and the proportion of renewable energy used in transport actually fell last year.

Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair Angus MacNeil MP said:

"The experts we spoke to were clear: the UK will miss its 2020 renewable energy targets without major policy improvements. 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 report identifies a number of ways in which the key policies to meet the heat and transport targets—the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO)—could be improved.

Renewable heat

The Government's proposed reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) are not the optimal pathway to the 2020 renewable heat target. Many heat pumps have proven unsatisfactory in actual use, yet are being prioritised over biomass—which has been successful. Biomethane is also crucial to meeting the 2020 target and must remain a funding priority. The Government should revise its RHI reforms to reflect these priorities, especially in protecting biomethane support.