The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has overspent its budget to support renewable energy projects during the next five years by £1.5bn, according to reports.
According to the Guardian, a senior Whitehall source had told the paper that the projected overspend on renewables was the single most important problem for the ministry as it tried to balance its books.
“Sorting this out is a number one priority, but it is a dilemma. It really is ‘answers on a postcard’ time,” the source said.
Decc’s £7.6bn a year scheme was set up by the coalition Government to pay a premium on top of the market price for electricity generated by households using renewable energy.
But as the price of oil and gas has declined and the number of renewable installations has grown, civil servants are said to have struggled to keep within budget.
A Decc spokesman was quoted: “Reducing energy bills for hard-working British families and businesses is this Government’s priority. We have already announced reforms to remove subsidies for onshore wind, and that work to make sure bill payers are getting the best possible deal is going to continue.”