ODA to look into alternative ways to reduce carbon emissions after failing to hit 20% renewables aim

The Olympic park will miss its target of generating 20% of its energy from renewable sources after the Games, the head of the independent watchdog monitoring sustainability on the site has warned.

Shaun McCarthy, chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, said that the proportion of renewable energy will be “less than anticipated”. He suggested the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) would instead have to use energy-efficiency measures to hit its target of emitting 50% less carbon than normal buildings.

McCarthy said that the ODA was looking at “whether the carbon emissions targets will have to be met in another way.”

“It’s much better not to use the energy in the first place,” he said.

 McCarthy said the scrapping of an Olympic park wind turbine in June last year because of safety restrictions was decisive in the ODA not being able to meet the 20% target.

It is also understood that the ODA was persuaded to put in natural rooflights to light the velodrome, rather than cover the roof with solar panels to power electric lighting.

An ODA spokesperson said it was still looking at alternative renewable sources but would make a statement on the targets “in the coming weeks”.

“We are still looking at alternative options for meeting the challenging sustainability targets we set ourselves,” the ODA said.

McCarthy also said he would lobby the Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC), the London mayor and the Olympics minister for promises to devote 45 hectares of the park to wildlife habitats to be honoured.

As West Ham’s successful post-Olympics bid does not affect the size of the main stadium, McCarthy said that extra land would need to be found somewhere else on the site.

 “I’m holding the OPLC’s feet very firmly to the fire on this. The next thing you’ll have is a pocket handkerchief [of land] with a few frogs in it.”

In a separate report, the National Audit Office said that construction on the Olympic site was on track and that the public funding should be sufficient to cover the Games’ costs.