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Community energy

UK ‘may miss renewable energy targets’, European Commission warns

The UK is in danger of missing its target of 20 per cent of energy used coming from renewable sources by 2020, the European Commission has warned.

The Commission’s renewable energy progress report published today shows that three EU countries, including the UK, are “falling behind” in meeting their interim renewable energy targets and must “assess whether its policies are sufficient and effective” in meeting these targets.

“Since the interim targets will become tougher in the coming years, some EU countries will have to intensify their efforts and make use of mechanisms which allow them to cooperate with other EU countries,” the Commission said.

Overall, the report painted a positive picture, emphasising that 25 of the 28 EU countries are “expected to meet their interim renewable energy targets”.

“Nineteen member states… may exceed, some even considerably, their 2020 renewable energy targets with implemented and planned renewable energy policies,” it continued.

“However, some member states, including France, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent Belgium and Spain need to assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective in meeting their renewable energy objectives.”

The report noted that its assessment only includes policy measures implemented until the end of 2013.

“Some member states have meanwhile taken important decisions on public support or policy reforms, that could, if implemented in a timely manner, deliver the necessary growth in renewable energy deployment by 2020,” it said.

Newly appointed energy secretary Amber Rudd said she intends to push forward with plans enforce the Tory policy to curb the spread of onshore wind by amending current planning rules to give greater power to local communities, while subsidies for new wind farms will be banned altogether.

Trade body Renewable UK said the new legislation is set to ring alarm bells for investors.

“With the Paris Climate Conference approaching we need to make sure all our options are available, and as onshore wind is the least cost way to decarbonise our electricity system, so any early restriction could lead to higher bills for consumers,” Renewable UK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said.