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PAC highlights renewable energy target failures

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By Vivienne Russell

30 November 2010

Progress on meeting renewable energy targets has been ‘unacceptably slow’ over the past ten years, MPs said today.

A report from the Public Accounts Committee said the Department of Energy and Climate Change will miss its target to supply 10% of electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2010.

The PAC found that Decc does not have a clear understanding of how much is being spent on renewable energy or what has been achieved. Between 2000 and 2009, Decc and its predecessor departments failed to use almost half the resources available to encourage innovation in renewable energy.

PAC chair Margaret Hodge said: ‘Given the urgency and importance of the issue, progress in meeting renewable energy targets has been unacceptably slow over the last decade.

‘Ten years ago, the proportion of the UK’s electricity supplied from renewable sources stood at 2.7%. By 2009 it was just 6.7%, well short of the department’s target to generate 10% by the end of 2010. And some £180m of the funds allocated to support renewable energy technologies had gone unspent.’

The committee also raised concerns that Decc committed to the legally binding European Union target to supply 15% of the UK’s energy from renewable sources by 2020 without any clear plans about how it was going to do so or estimates of the funding required. The department is counting on a massive growth in wind power over the next decade to meet the target, but this could be frustrated by financing constraints and planning restrictions, the MPs said.