Wind farm protest sign. Pic credits Ashley Cooper.Corbis
UK government is reportedly seeking to end subsidies for wind farms a year earlier than expected. Pic credits: Ashley Cooper/Corbis

In a European Union (EU) renewable energy progress report published on Tuesday, the UK, France and Netherlands are “set to miss a key EU renewable energy target and should review their policies to get back on track”.

The binding renewable energy target, adopted in 2009, requires the EU member states to source 20% of their energy capacity from renewable sources, including wind, solar and biomass by 2020.

Missing the target

According to the Guardian, the progress report for all 28 member states disclosed that – in addition to the UK, France and Netherlands – Malta and Luxembourg should “assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective” to meet the target.

An EU source told the Guardian: “There are still five years to go [to meet the target], there is still time. We are not saying they [the five countries mentioned in the report] are going to fail. We are saying look into your policies and adjust them”.

Further to this, the report indicates that most countries are on track to reach their contribution to the renewable energy target and suggests that Sweden, Denmark and Estonia are set to ‘considerably exceed it’.

The UK’s share of energy from renewable sources – which includes heating as well as electricity – was 5.1% for 2013. Therefore, in order to reach the target by 2020, Britain must source 15% of energy from renewable sources.

Possible barriers in the UK

A partnership of renewable energy trade bodies from 11 European countries, Keep On Track, stated that the UK was underachieving on renewable energy, due in part to “a number of major regulatory and administrative barriers”.

The new Conservative government in the UK intends to put a halt to the development of more wind farms on land, which are widely seen as the cheapest form of renewable energy. Amber Rudd, energy secretary, is reportedly seeking to end subsidies for wind farms a year earlier than expected, thus making it easier for local communities to block the development of onshore wind farms.

EU as a whole on track

The commission’s report found that the EU as a whole sourced 15.3% of its energy from renewables in 2013, leading it to state that the bloc is on track to hit its 20% by 2020 target.

A spokesperson for the European Wind Energy Association said: “It’s encouraging to see that the EU as a whole is on track to meet the 2020 target. Member states have shown ambition to meet this objective but it’s clear that some countries need to pick up the pace, notably the UK, Netherlands and France”, reported The Guardian.

Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU climate commissioner, said: “The report shows once again that Europe is good at renewables, and that renewables are good for Europe. We have three times more renewable power per capita in Europe than anywhere else in the rest of the world.”