According to a report by the Renewable Energy Foundation, the UK government expects that renewable electricity will contribute about half of the renewable energy required in 2020 by the EU Renewable Energy Directive of 2009.
This amounts, DECC estimates, to about 110 TWh.
Analysis of DECC’s own Renewable Energy Planning Database suggests that there is already 35 GW of capacity consented, and now either operational, or under or awaiting construction. This is sufficient to meet the target with a 5% margin.
However, REF claims there is a further 18 GW of capacity in the planning system, which would deliver a target overshoot of about 50%, and exceed the Treasury’s cap on subsidy spending.
REF said: “This development effort is obviously premature, and the capital deployed is in jeopardy. Furthermore, the necessity of assessing these planning applications leads to waste of valuable resources and increased costs for local authorities, statutory consultees, and local communities.”
REF claims these capital and other resources could be more usefully directed towards meeting energy efficiency targets, or invention and innovation to drive down costs in the sector.