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Government urged not to change renewable energy target

The Committee on Climate Change has advised energy secretary Chris Huhne not to raise the UK’s renewable energy target for 2020.

In a letter to secretary of state Chris Huhne, the Committee said that the target − to ensure that the share of renewable energy is increased from current low levels to 15% by 2020 − should neither be reduced nor increased.

The current ambition is desirable in that it would make an appropriate contribution towards meeting carbon budgets, said the committee.

“Instead, Government should focus its efforts on meeting the current target.”

David Kennedy, Committee on Climate Change

At the moment, only 3% of the energy that we use in the UK comes from renewable sources. A step change in the rate of progress is therefore required. The focus for Government should be on reducing delivery risks as a matter of urgency.

Committee on Climate Change chief executive David Kennedy said: “The current target is desirable, but there are significant risks around achieving it. We do not see any merit in raising this target further.

“Instead, Government should focus its efforts on meeting the current target, in particular by providing the right incentives to encourage investment in renewable energy projects in the UK.”

Ensuring delivery

Secretary of state for energy and climate change Chris Huhne had requested that the Committee advise him on the level of the Government’s renewable energy ambition prior to publishing a broader review into renewable energy, which is due out in spring 2011.

In response to the Committee on Climate Change’s letter, Renewable Energy Association chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “We agree with the Committee’s headline recommendation of sticking with the 15% target, but putting greater emphasis on ensuring that it is actually delivered. 

“We will be scrutinising the Committee’s recommendations closely over the coming week and making a full response to Government in due course.”

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