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U.K. Misses Renewables Goal, Casts Doubt on 2020 Aim, Group Says

The U.K. will likely miss a goal set by the European Union to derive 15 percent of its energy supply from clean sources by 2020, a research group said.

A milestone, to get 10 percent of its electricity in 2010 from sources such as the wind and sun, was missed, the Renewable Energy Foundation said today in a statement. That was a target set during the former Labour party leadership.

“Failure to meet the much-discussed 2010 target, in spite of very high levels of consumer subsidy, is a clear indication that the EU 2020 goals are impractical and unaffordable,” John Constable, policy and research director for REF said today by telephone. "We need an urgent rethink."

The U.K. generated 6.5 percent of its electricity from renewable energy last year, according to the London-based group’s research, which was based on data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and energy regulator Ofgem.

Subsidies to renewable power generators were 1.1 billion pounds ($1.79 billion) for that year and about 5 billion pounds during the 2002-2010 period, according to the group.

Charles Hendry, a junior minister in DECC, said in a written parliamentary question in December that the 2010 goal was a “non-legally binding target” that the U.K. will miss because of a failure to make enough progress in past years.

“However, analysis of the pipeline indicates that the rate of deployment is increasing and we estimate reaching 10 percent in 2012,” he said then.

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