The Department of Energy and Climate Change quietly slashed its renewables capacity forecast out to 2035, new analysis conducted by Carbon Brief has claimed.

The analysis, reported yesterday, claimed that data released quietly on the same day that energy secretary Amber Rudd delivered her landmark policy reset speech showed that DECC had downgraded its renewables forecast out to 2035 by more than a third.

Carbon Brief has said that its analysis of figures contained within DECC’s energy and emissions projections revealed that while the department expected 34GW of renewables by 2025, this has now been scaled down to 22GW, with just 10GW of new renewable capacity expected to be added throughout the 2020s.  

However speaking to Solar Power Portal this morning Alasdair Cameron, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said that more analysis of the figures by the campaign group showed that while renewables capacity is lower, actual generation has not fallen by much.

Friends of the Earth’s analysis has claimed that DECC’s projection for renewables generation in 2030 has fallen from 148TWh forecast last year to 142TWh, a slide of just 4%.

This is compounded further with total electricity demand projections to also fall. The actual percentage share of renewables’ total contribution to electricity demand is therefore expected to remain largely the same at 41%.

FOE has said that this could be down to a result of offshore wind generators to be more productive than originally thought and new policy decisions – particularly last week’s announcement that 10GW of new offshore capacity could be welcomed by 2020 – could replace lesser onshore wind development.

Cameron added that technologies like wind and solar would likely be the “most important of the 21st century” and that any failure from the government to embrace them would be a “huge missed opportunity”.

“Treasury interference has left the UK’s energy policy is in a mess. Rather than constantly talking up gas and fracking the UK should build on the real progress it has made on renewables, and commit to transitioning to a clean and modern energy system.

“Whatever actually happens, it’s frankly astonishing that in the run up to Paris the UK government is even considering scaling back its ambition for renewables.

“Instead, the UK should look at how to spread the benefits of the renewable revolution through expansion of decentralised energy, and as a start it should rethink its proposed cuts to rooftop solar,” Cameron added.

DECC’s latest projections come just a week after the department drastically upscaled its solar capacity forecast for 2020 to 12GW, less than a fortnight after energy minister Andrea Leadsom noted forecasts of 9.55GW for the same time period.