Government slammed by parliamentary committee for lack of urgency on renewable energy

Britain is likely to miss its own renewable energy goals as well as European Union targets on green technology unless radical action is taken.

This was the conclusion of a parliamentary report into Britain’s energy commitments published yesterday.

The review, from the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills select committee, criticised the government for its “lack of urgency” in addressing the issue.

Britain, which currently gets less than 5% of its electricity from renewable sources, aims to double this by 2010. Under an EU mandate, it is also committed to a target of 15% of total energy by 2020, which in effect would mean around 40% of electricity.

Head of the committee, Phil Willis, said: “We have been consistently disappointed by the lack of urgency expressed by the government – and at times by the electricity industry – in relation to the challenge ahead.”

“We find it highly unlikely that given the current progress the UK will meet the government's ambition for 10% of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2010, let alone sufficient electricity to meet the EC mandated renewable energy target for 2020.”

In a separate report out this week, the Renewables Advisory Board (RAB) told the government that current policies were likely to produce just 6 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

It said 14% could be achieved, but only with “new policy, economic and social drivers” and a “determination to succeed”.

Meanwhile, eco-towns came under heavy criticism from green activist Nick Rosen, who used a comment piece in The Times to resign from a committee advising on the government programme.

He said plans for the towns looked “increasingly threadbare” and a “laughable caricature” of eco-living arrangements.