UK: Energy Secretary comes clean about missing renewable energy target

U.K. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd admitted on Tuesday that the country’s government did not have the “right policies” to meet its renewable energy target.

Speaking before a Parliamentary Committee, Rudd confirmed that the U.K. would miss the European Union-mandated requirement of a 15% share of renewables in the country’s energy consumption by 2020, according to a report by Huffington Post UK. “We don’t have the right policies, particularly in transport and heat in order to make those 2020 target,” Rudd said.

The admission followed the leak of an Oct. 29 letter she wrote to a number of fellow cabinet officials warning that the U.K. was set to miss its goal and added that the “absence of a credible plan” to meet the target could lead to fines from the EU Court of Justice and a judicial review.

The leaked message, which was obtained by The Ecologist, drew a wave of criticism from renewable energy proponents and opposition Labour Party officials.

The Telegraph quoted Daisy Sands, head of energy at Greenpeace, who said the letter illustrated “the dark side of the government’s incoherent energy policy in full technicolor.”

She added, “For the first time, we learn that the government is expecting to miss the EU’s legally binding renewables target. This is hugely shocking. But more deplorably, it is willfully hiding this from public scrutiny. The government is planning on cutting support for the solar and wind subsidies in the name of affordability.”

The Telegraph also cited Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow energy secretary, who added, "At the very same time the energy secretary is telling her cabinet colleagues in private we’re not on course to meet our legal target on clean energy, she is cutting wind and solar schemes that could help us to meet it. It beggars belief that ministers are pursuing these regressive steps, and damaging our international reputation on climate change, less than a month before the important Paris summit."

Rudd has since admitted that while renewable energy generation was on course, the use of renewables in other sectors would cause the country to fall short.

“I am concerned about the work done in transport and in heat to make the additional targets,” Rudd said, quoted by the Huffington Post UK. “That’s why I have been writing to other ministers in other departments, particularly transport, to urge them to work across government to ensure we make this target."