UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted that the country does not have ‘right policies in place to meet binding EU renewable energy targets.
Rudd spoke in front of a parliamentary committee after a letter addressed to her colleagues discussing the situation had been leaked to the Ecologist magazine.
In the letter, she revealed that the UK will only be able to cover 11.5 per cent of the energy it needs for transport, power and heating from renewable resources by 2020 instead of the EU-required 15 per cent.
"It's my aim we should meet the 2020 target,” Rudd said to MPs. “I recognise we don't have the right policies, particularly in transport and heat, but we have four to five years and I remain committed to making the target.”
To meet the overall 15 per cent goal, the UK aims to source 30 per cent of its electricity, 10 per cent of transport energy as well as 12 per cent of energy used for heating from renewable resources.
Rudd insisted the UK was on track to meet the 30 per cent power sub-goal but was doubtful whether the target would be met in the heating and transport domain.
"Currently there's insufficient evidence we're going to make the 2020 target unless we take certain action, I remain committed to taking action to meet the target," she said.
The leaked letter suggested several ways of how the UK could meet the targets including buying hydropower from Norway or purchasing credits from another EU country that has exceeded the target.
The revelations prompted an angry response from green campaigners, who blamed the government’s cutting subsidies to renewable technologies including onshore wind and solar for the situation.
"This Government's credibility on climate change is lying in tatters,” said Green MP Caroline Lucas. "To create jobs and tackle climate change, the UK should be leading the way on clean home-grown energy. Ministers must get a grip and urgently act to ensure we meet all of our renewable energy targets."
Environmental group Friends of the Earth said it was considering a legal challenge against the Government if it fails to put in place a credible plan for meeting its 2020 renewables targets.
"Without serious additional action the UK is on course to miss its legally binding renewable energy targets for 2020 - and recently proposed cuts to support for wind and solar technologies will make matters worse," said energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron.
"Renewable energy is the future - the Government must get on board and help build the low carbon, affordable economy we so urgently need."