The UK has already sanctioned enough green energy projects to hit its EU targets. Government statistics show that 35 gigawatts of renewable capacity (primarily wind, solar farms and wood-burning biomass plants) have already been completed, under construction or have planning permission.
This indicates that there will be more than enough to hit the legally-binding goal of obtaining 15pc of energy from renewable sources by 2020, on the authority of a report by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).
REF said: “If all capacity in the pipeline were refused immediately, the 2020 target would still be met.”
Britain’s 15pc target for 2020 covers all energy, including heating and fuels – and in the process is predicted to require a minimum of 30pc of electricity to derive from renewable energy sources.
REF evaluates; Providing that all 18GW of projects currently in the planning structure were approved and constructed, the UK would transcend that level by 50%.
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”.
The UK has no binding renewable targets past 2020 and ministers have said they are happy to use alternative low-carbon technologies, such as nuclear or ‘clean’ gas, if they provide a cheaper avenue to decarbonising. The Renewable Energy Association, which represents the green energy sector, said: “The UK is currently broadly on track to meet its legally binding 2020 target of 15% renewable energy.”
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