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expert reaction to 2020 renewable heat and transport targets

A report from the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee has warned the government that, based on current trends, the UK will miss its target to provide 15% of energy from renewable sources.


Dr David Clarke FREng, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering who chaired last year’s Academy report A critical time for UK energy policy, said:

“Failing to deliver the renewables targets for 2020 would be disappointing but it is more important that the UK Government continually reinforces its desire to meet the national carbon budgets out to 2032 and implements policies which support progress towards achieving these goals.

“As we have said before, updating the UK energy system to meet the ‘trilemma’ of decarbonisation, security and affordability is a massive undertaking. Meeting national targets affordably requires substantial decarbonisation of the electricity system by 2030 through a mix of nuclear power, CCS and renewables with gas generation for balancing. Beyond 2030 we must then largely decarbonise heat and transport, potentially through electrification but also using other options such as hydrogen and biofuels. We also need to adapt our transmission and distribution networks to become ‘smarter’.”


Sir Brian Heap FRS, Research Associate at the Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge, said:

“This is an important and timely report, particularly in questioning the government’s negative message about dealing with climate change by the closure of DECC. The risk will be the UK’s loss of focus on the importance of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency.

“The targets are still extremely important but there is a lack of attention given to distributed renewable energy systems. The concern about missing renewable heat targets is welcome and more research and effective policy decisions are needed to achieve these needs which should be addressed urgently.”


Declared interests

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