Britain will miss a major legally-binding renewable energy target, Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, has privately admitted in a letter to other cabinet ministers leaked to the press.
In a candid private message to senior Tories, Ms Rudd downplayed the chances of the UK sourcing 15 per cent of energy, including for transport, power and heating, from renewables by 2020.
She warned that the “absence of a credible plan” to meet the target could trigger repeated fines from the EU Court of Justice and a judicial review.
Ms Rudd also said that while internal forecasts predicted Britain will fall short of the goal, “publically” the government would say the country “continues to make progress” to hit it.
The leaked letter, which was published by The Ecologist magazine, triggered criticism from green campaigners who said it revealed the government’s failures to protect renewables.
Ms Rudd’s frank letter was sent on October 29 to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office, Greg Hands, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Patrick McLoughlin the Transport Secretary.
“I am writing to inform you of current UK progress towards the EU 2020 renewables target and the work underway to agree the Government’s strategy for meeting the target,” Ms Rudd wrote.
She added: “The absence of a credible plan to meet the target carries the risk of successful judicial review, and failing to meet the overall target in 2020 could lead to on-going fines imposed by the EU Court of Justice (which could take into account avoided costs) until the UK reaches the target level.”
The letter also appears to suggest buying hydropower from Norway, purchasing clean energy from other EU states or doing a deal with a European country which has over-achieved on its targets to buy their “credits” to help hit the target.