A new report has surfaced this week which indicates that the UK already has enough green energy to meet its renewable EU targets. All of the wind, biomass, solar and other renewable energy projects which are built (or have planning permission) will generate enough energy to meet the 2020 figure of 15%.
The Renewable Energy Foundation, despite its name, has been a rather harsh critic of the cost of renewable energy developments. Their anaylsis claimed that all 1,000 or so projects still in the planning system are pretty much surpluss to requirements. Government figures also go some way in backing up their claims. Once all of these projects are completed, Britain will have over 35 Gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, mainly in the form of biomass plants, wind, or solar farms.
The UK is legally obliged by the EU to make sure that at least 15% of its energy is generated by renewable sources by 2020. This target is all-ecompassing, including heating and fuels, and the UK is obviously well on its way after recieving harsh criticism. But what does this mean? Should we suddenly stop what we're doing? Are the 1,000 or so renewable energy projects which are now in the pipeline redundent? Of course not.
This report will no doubt be pounced upon by the Tories, who are already looking for ways to sway public opinion in their favour over the the restriction of wind and solar farms. Britain has no renewable obligations to the EU beyond 2020, and the Government have stated that they're happy to use 'clean gas' or low carbon technologies if they offer a cheaper route to decarbonising. Of course, environmentalists are opposed to these ideas, but Tim Yeo, chairman of the Energy Select Committee, actually spoke out on the issue this week claiming that the UK could not afford the rising green subsidies. He did say, however, that onshore windfarms presented better value for money, something which has been echoed by Energy Minister, Ed Davey and contradicts Tory plans to 'cap' onshore windfarms.
What do other bodies say? The Renewable Energy Association, who represents the interests of the green industry, said that the UK was "broadly" on track to meet its 2020 targets. It also said that £30 billion had been invested in renewable energy since 2010 and that double that amount would be needed before 2020 approaches.
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