Energy secretary Amber Rudd is facing damaging accusations that she ‘misled’ the public, following a letter leaked to the Ecologist predicting the UK’s imminent failure to meet legally-binding renewable targets.
The letter, sent to select members of the cabinet on October 29, reveals that internal forecasts at DECC predict a shortfall of 20TWh against the UK’s target to generate 15 percent of its energy from green sources by 2020.
The revelation contrasts significantly with DECC’s public position that the UK is on track to hit targets and decarbonise the economy to the required degree.
The energy secretary has attracted additional criticism for the letter’s suggestion that renewable energy generated in other EU countries which have exceeded their targets could be bought by the UK in order to meet the shortfall.
“There’s no indication that all this would be cheaper than supporting renewables in the UK, which has Europe’s best and most economic wind resource” said Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder.
“Given the reason for Rudd’s cuts to renewable energy support was cost, you’d think that ought to be a prominent feature of any discussion. Not only would paying other countries to build renewables for us cost more, but we’d also be exporting jobs and industry.
“It rather looks like DECC are panicking, faced with the inevitable consequences of the ideologically driven renewables cull – their plan A. Plan B appears to be either to pay the fines or to pay another country to do the job for us. Both options are short sighted and economically illiterate.”
Greenpeace head of energy, Daisy Sands, said: “This letter shows us the dark side of the government’s incoherent energy policy in full technicolour. This is hugely shocking. But more deplorably, it is wilfully hiding this from public scrutiny.
“Perversely, we see that the government believes investing in renewable energy projects involving buying power from abroad is more desirable than supporting home grown industries.”