UK's Renewable Energy Shortfall

Rachael Maskell MP for York Central in the House of Commons yesterday (19/11) questioning the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd about the UK’s renewable energy target.


The UK renewable energy target is a legal requirement that sees 15% of UK energy produced from renewable sources by 2020. On the current trajectory, the Government could miss the target by approximately 3.5%.

Rachael Maskell says:
“In a leaked letter published last week, the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd was informing Ministers in her department that the UK will not meet its legal target to provide 15% of UK energy from renewable sources.

“The timing could not be worse, the UK is the only G7 country that is increasing its fossil fuel subsidies despite signing the G20 pledge in 2009 to phase them out. Since May, the Government have cut support for renewable energy schemes such as wind, solar and community energy projects. Investor confidence in the renewable sector is now falling; in September, the UK dropped out of the top ten of a respected international league table on renewable energy for the first time since it began 12 years ago.

“What type of message is the UK sending to the rest of the world, just days before the UN Paris Climate Change Conference?

“Where once we were leaders, now we will have to follow. Worse still, Amber Rudd suggests a range of measures, including paying for renewable energy from projects in other EU countries as a way of offsetting the UK’s failure to increase its own generation. I believe it matters where the renewable energy comes from, for the sake of highly skilled UK jobs and for a sustainable UK energy industry, the renewable energy target should be reached through UK production of renewable energy and the Government should not need to invest in other EU member states low-carbon economies to reach its own legal obligation.”

Here is how the exchange was recorded in Parliament by Hansard:

Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab/Co-op):
What steps she is taking to ensure that the UK meets its EU renewable energy target by 2020.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Amber Rudd):
We are making good progress towards our 15% renewable energy target for 2020, and I am confident that we will meet the next interim target of 5.4%, with provisional figures showing that 6.3% of final energy consumption for 2013 and 2014 came from renewable sources.

Rachael Maskell:
With the UN climate change conference just days away, on top of renewables subsidies being removed, we have learned that the UK will fall significantly short of its renewable energy target. While Labour led global talks, is the Secretary of State going to Paris to learn about the consequences of her cuts or to apologise to future generations?

Amber Rudd:
I am delighted to say that there will be plenty of opportunities during this Session to talk about Paris, and I look forward to doing so. On the specific question of the renewables target, I repeat to the hon. Lady that we are making good progress at the moment. [Interruption.] There are issues, but we are expecting to exceed our interim target. There is more to do, and I am delighted to say that I am working across Government with the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure that we do it.

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