Fact Check 7: The UK’s renewable energy target

View Full Fact report:  The UK’s renewable energy target

Blah blah blah, Renewable Energy Directive. Blah blah blah, binding EU targets. 

I think that’s what most people see when this is written about. It’s guaranteed to prompt a general sense of outrage when mentioned at public exhibitions for proposed wind farms.  But most people see the case for every country doing their fair share, and applaud some joined up thinking.

In a nutshell, EU countries have got targets for renewable generation, and ours is 15% of energy (which includes electricity, heat and transport) from renewables by 2020.  We’ve even got interim targets to make sure everyone’s on track as we reach 2020 (we’re on track so far, according to Full Fact).

But with four years left, and the carpet just ripped out from under renewables’ feet, can we keep up momentum?  Personally, I’d think “No”.  The European Commission has suggested that the UK is off track.

But what happens if we don’t hit the target?

The consequences are not really clear, and if they come, it would be a slow and costly beast for all involved.

It’s important for us, as residents of the UK, to insist our Government sticks to the target rather than wait for the long hand of the EC to take action.

In 2012, four member states (Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and Slovenia) didn’t show legislation adequate to implement the policy, so the EC issued them with a warning letter giving 2 months to comply or they “may” face referral to the Court of Justice. It must have worked, because they did it.

Of course, if the UK leaves the EU then meeting these targets won’t be an issue for Government to worry about.


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