UK Government trying to scrap green energy targets

6th April 2017 | Commercial Energy

Official in the Treasury and the business department are looking for a way to abandon the national goal of getting 15 percent renewable energy by 2020. This is almost double the current level.

Removing the target would allow Britain to skirt fines which could reach tens of millions of pounds since it’s on track to narrowly miss the 2020 goal. It would also move the UK out of step with the other European Union nations which maintain targets as part of their membership in the region’s energy market. The UK wishes to preserve its link to the market and smooth cross-border trading of electricity, which has helped lower power prices.

“There is a risk that energy gets wrapped up in the wider political negotiation with the EU seeking to make access to the Internal Energy Market subject to the UK signing up to future energy and environment legislation,” said Simon Virley, head of power and utilities at KPMG.

The move is an example of Prime Minister Theresa May’s government seeking to maintain the most advantageous parts of the EU relationship while scrapping rules concerning to business. This is the sort of “cherry picking” that European Commission has ruled out. May began the two-year process of leaving the union on March 29. And while renewables targets and electricity market rules are negotiated differently, they link at the level of political discussions.

The EU’s Internal Energy Market is a package of assets, codes and rules that allow intraday trading over borders. Britain wants to build up those links as part of its efforts to maintain electricity supplies as ageing power plants retire from service.

Britain already has power links with about 4 gigawatts of capacity, according to National Grid Plc. This could reach 18 gigawatts by the mid 2030s. In all future scenarios the UK will remain a net importer of electricity until the early 2030s, the grid operator predicts.

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