© Global Warming Images/Rex Shutterstock

The energy secretary has admitted in a leaked letter the UK is forecast to miss its renewables targets, despite continuing to tell the public the country is making progress towards meeting its obligations.

In the letter, obtained by The Ecologist Magazine, Amber Rudd said the UK was forecast to get just 11.5% of its energy needs from renewables by 2020 – missing the UK target of 15%.

But Ms Rudd went on to write: “Publicly we are clear that the UK continues to make progress to meet the target.”

Then on Tuesday (10 November), when questioned by the Energy and Climate Change Committee, she said it was “difficult to say” if the UK was on track to meet its 2020 target.

Yet publicly, Ms Rudd has said the government is committed to cutting carbon and meeting its 2020 targets.

The government has been criticised for slashing support for renewable technologies and limiting new onshore wind projects, putting at risk investment, jobs and the sector itself.

See also: Government faces Feed-In Tariffs legal challenge

In the letter to four other ministers, Ms Rudd said the UK could face a judicial review and fines from the EU for missing its target.

Amber Rudd

© Mark Thomas/Rex Shutterstock

She suggested the shortfall could in-part be made up by “importing” renewable energy from other countries.

It is thought this could mean paying other EU member state which will exceed the target – a bit like buying credits to pollute.

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said: “It is clearly absurd to be decimating the most cost effective renewable power technologies while exploring the potential to make up the UK renewable target shortfall by importing renewable electricity from overseas.

“The solar industry has already seen the government prioritise public support towards more expensive overseas utilities over British solar.

“It is very difficult to understand the lack of interest in supporting British companies.”

“The secretary of state herself said she would rather meet the target at home so why is she decimating our industry and looking for electricity from overseas?”
Leonie Greene, Solar Trade Association

“The secretary of state herself said she would rather meet the target at home so why is she decimating our industry and looking for electricity from overseas?”

“We are not on track to meet the 2020 targets, investor confidence has been severely damaged by recent policy chaos and the world is half way to dangerous climate change – the UK does not have a minute to waste to get its solar industry back on track.”

Achieving just 11.5% of renewables by 2020 would leave the UK trailing behind other EU member states, many of which are progressing towards the pan-EU target of 20%.