Government advised not to raise renewable energy target

The Government has been advised not to raise its renewable energy target to an unrealistic level in a letter from Lord Adair Turner to climate minister Chris Huhne. The letter said efforts should be increased to achieve the current target of 15 per cent by 2020 instead.

Lord Turner, writing as chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said it would be "broadly desirable" to attain such a share of renewable energy. Currently, only 3 per cent of energy used in the UK comes from renewable sources.

He warned that the rate of progress did need to be improved, saying this should be addressed "as a matter of urgency". In the letter, Lord Turner said of the current target: "It should neither be reduced which would increase risks for meeting future carbon budgets nor increased which could involve rapidly escalating costs or go beyond the limits of what is likely to feasible.

"Rather, the focus should be on implementation, with a number of key risks that should now be addressed by the Government in order that the share of renewable energy can be increased rapidly." He added that the share of the target across the sectors of electricity, heat and transport made "an appropriate contribution to meeting carbon budgets to 2020 and beyond".

The committee advised the Government to increase the level of investment in renewable energy and ensure there were sufficient financial incentives. Lord Turner said that investment in onshore and offshore wind turbines was especially needed.

The letter was requested by Huhne ahead of a review into renewable energy which is due to be published next spring. Huhne said: "We will focus on real delivery to ensure we meet the 2020 targets, and look forward to receiving their further analysis of what more can be done through to 2030."

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