The UK Government has made clear its commitment to meeting a 15% target by 2020 from across the electricity, heat and transport sectors. It recognises that renewables will play a key role in the decarbonisation of the UK energy supply by 2030, and that it will be crucial to help protect consumers from fossil fuel price fluctuations, help contribute to long-term energy security, and drive investment in new jobs and businesses.
The UK Carbon Plan suggests that around 40-70GW of new low carbon electricity generating capacity will be needed by 2030, of which renewables could provide 35-50GW.
During 2009 and 2010, UK government 'introduced a series of measures to provide and improve the effectiveness of financial incentives, remove the barriers to increased rates of deployment, develop supply chains and encourage innovation in these emerging technologies'.
Actions by UK government included introducing differential rates of support for individual electricity technologies through the banding of the Renewables Obligation; the launch of the Feed-in Tariff scheme for smaller scale electricity generation, and a further increase in the obligation (through the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation) on fossil-fuel suppliers to supply a greater percentage of biofuels in road transport.
The government introduced a ‘Connect and Manage’ scheme to make it easier for renewables developments to connect to the electricity grid
By the end of 2010, renewable energy accounted for 54TWh (3.3%) of the UK’s total energy consumption in 2010 - an increase of 27% over the 2 year period.
Renewable electricity increased by 19% from 21.6TWh to 25.7TWh and renewable heat by 25% from 11.3TWh to 14.1TWh. In 2009 and 2010 UK increased wind generation by 46% and in 2010 achieved the milestone of 5GW installed capacity from offshore and onshore wind.
In the same period, UK also increased electricity generated from biomass by over 25%, and increased the share of biofuels in road transport from 1.1% in 2007/8 to 3.3% in 2009/10.
Under Article 4 of the Renewable Energy Directive, each member state is obliged to submit a plan as to how the targets will be met.
DECC analysis indicates that delivering 15% renewable energy by 2020 is feasible through domestic action and could be achieved with the following proportion of energy consumption in each sector coming from renewables:
• Around 30% of electricity demand, including 2% from small-scale sources;
• 12% of heat demand;
• 10% of transport demand.
These figures are purely illustrative of how the overall 15% target for the UK could be met. They should not be taken as an upper limit to the UK ambition for renewables deployment, and it is likely that the balance between different sectors could change.
The UK renewables policy framework is made up of three key components:
· Financial support for renewables;
· Unblocking barriers to delivery; and
· Developing emerging technologies