EU energy target to be scrapped in Brexit plans?

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The Telegraph reports that the UK may be planning to scrap the key EU derived 15% renewable energy target for the UK after ‘Brexit’ as part of the plan to scale back on regulations.

The UK government is currently committed to the target of generating 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020.

There are concerns that the target does not allow for energy generated from other low carbon sources, such as nuclear, or for benefits presented by carbon capture and storage, or improved energy efficiency.

The target has led to billions of pounds of investment in renewable electricity generation, such as wind turbines, solar photovoltaics and large scale biomass power generation. These subsidies are paid for by the consumer through our electricity bills.

Renewable energy has grown less strongly in the heating and transport sectors, unlike in the electricity sector where growth has been relatively strong. The expectation is that the UK may struggle to meet the current target and incur millions of pounds in fines from the European Union.

The report comes after civil service papers were photographed during an EU trade mission by a passenger. The Telegraph has quoted phrases such as, “trade and growth are now priorities for all posts — you will all need to prioritise developing capability in this area” and “some economic security-related work like climate change and illegal wildlife trade will be scaled down.”

Energy expert insight

“The UK has been committed to meeting its EU obligations on renewable energy while arguing for more flexibility in moving to a less carbon intensive economy, particularly on the roles that new nuclear, carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency could play. We are now also seeing renewed interest in energy storage.

Even if we do decide not to go forward with the EU renewable energy target, post Brexit, the Climate Change Act is a more demanding, although more flexible, commitment. The act sets binding periodical carbon budgets for the UK and foresees substantial emissions reductions over the coming decades.” Alastair Fells MEI, Incorporated Eng, PG Dip Fuel Tech, BSc Hons

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