Europe energy goals too costly for UK business

Chris Papadopoullos
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EU targets will add 23 per cent to firms’ energy bills by 2020
EUROPEAN Union renewable energy targets will cripple UK businesses and hit household finances significantly, says a report released today.

The report, by think tank Open Europe, shows that EU energy targets could add 23 per cent to UK firms’ bills by 2020.

Under EU targets, the UK has committed itself to the most ambitious increase in renewable energy consumption of any EU member.

Currently four per cent of the UK’s energy consumption comes from renewables, by 2020 this must rise to 15 per cent. For electricity generation, this means increasing the share of renewables from 11 per cent in 2012 to more than 30 per cent in 2020.

The targets are so ambitious that some have questioned whether the government understood them in the first place.

“There was some degree of confusion at the heads of states’ meeting dealing with this. If they had said 20 per cent renewables on the electricity grids across the EU by 2020, we would have had a realistic target. But by saying 20 per cent of all energy, I actually wonder whether that wasn’t a mistake,” the UK’s former scientific adviser, Sir David King told the BBC in 2008.

Open Europe estimates that by 2020, EU-related regulations or targets will raise annual house­hold bills by £149 (11 per cent). They claim the money would be better spent on other energy saving policies such as fitting houses with more insulation.