Missing the Renewable Energy Target
The National Audit Office (NAO) works on behalf of Parliament and the taxpayer to hold government to account for the use of public money and to help public services improve performance.
According to a recent report released by the NAO, the UK Government has fallen well short on its renewable energy targets.
In the report, entitled ‘Government funding for developing renewable energy technologies', the NAO examined the delivery and performance of direct support using public funds for the development, demonstration and deployment of renewable energy technology, focusing on electricity and heat generating technologies.
The NAO looked at 20 schemes and funding streams established since 2000, but did not include regulatory measures funded by industry and consumers that reward renewable energy generation, such as the Renewables Obligation (RO) - which the report says provided financial support worth around £1 billion in 2008/09 - in its findings.
The Whitehall spending watchdog blames a lack of clear co-ordination for the missed target of generating 10 percent of the UK's electricity from renewable sources.
According to the NAO, the latest available data from 2008 reveals that only 5.5 percent of power was produced by green technology and just 2.3 percent of all its energy was generated from renewables.
In its report, the NAO says Government funding for developing renewable energy technologies has delivered technology innovation and increased the supply of renewable energy.
However, it adds that co-ordination has historically been limited and the absence of a consistent approach to measuring and reporting on the impact of this support means the overall value for money of spending to date cannot be demonstrated.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “The Department needs a more strategic approach to delivering government funding for renewable energy technologies.
“This requires cleaner plans, better information, improved co-ordination and a more consistent approach to assessing results. At present the 2020 target looks optimistic. The Department should complete work on developing its renewable energy plans as a matter of urgency, and agree responsibilities with delivery bodies for implementing the plan.”
Numerous schemes offering support to consumers for renewable energy technologies have been launched since 2000. But the NAO said the co-ordination amongst the delivery bodies has historically been limited and there has been no routine collection of information on the spending and delivery by these schemes and their contribution to meeting the 2020 target for renewable energy and the longer-term statutory commitment to reduce emissions.