The following is an extract of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan for the United Kingdom published by the Coalition Government in 2010:
Summary of National Renewable Energy Policy
The importance of renewables in the UK
The UK needs to radically increase its use of renewable energy. The UK has been blessed with a wealth of energy resources. Until now we have relied on the use of our coal, oil and gas supplies to supply our homes; support our businesses; and power our transport. As we look forward, we need to ensure that we also make the most of our renewable resources to provide a secure basis for the UK's future energy needs. The depletion of our domestic fossil fuels reserves, combined with projected growth in global energy demand, puts our security of energy supply at risk. Exploiting our renewable resources will make a strong contribution to our energy needs and allow us to be less reliant on others.
Our drive to increase the proportion of energy we obtain from renewable sources will not only increase the security of energy supplies in the UK, it will also provide opportunities for investment in new industries and new technologies. The UK Government will help business develop in this area to put the UK at the forefront of new renewable technologies and skills.
The UK Government believes that climate change is one of the gravest threats we face, and that urgent action at home and abroad is required. We need to use a wide range of levers to decarbonise the economy. The development of renewable energy sources, alongside nuclear power and the development of carbon capture and storage, will also enable the UK to play its full part in international efforts to reduce the production of harmful greenhouse gases.
The Way Forward
This National Renewable Energy Action Plan provides details on a set of measures that would enable the UK to meet its 2020 target. But we want to go a lot further. We want to secure our energy supplies through 2020 and beyond and provide a sound framework for business to develop in the new industries, providing jobs and cutting harmful greenhouse gases. The Coalition: our programme for government sets out a range of proposals to ensure that we go as far as we can in exploiting the UK's renewable energy resources.
We are commissioning the independent UK Committee on Climate Change to review the renewables target and provide advice on increasing the level of ambition. We have also committed to make an Annual Energy Statement to the UK Parliament to set strategic energy policy and guide investment in all forms of energy including renewables. At the European level we are pushing for greater leadership in tackling international climate change by supporting an increase in the European Union emission reduction target to 30% by 2020.
Meeting our 2020 target
The history of energy production in the UK has been based around our natural resources of fossil fuels. This means that we have not been as active in our exploitation of our renewable resources - this must change. Compared to many other Member States, the UK is starting from a very low level of renewable energy consumption and this means that our challenge to meet the 2020 targets is even greater.
The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive sets a target for the UK to achieve 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. This compares to only 1.5% in 2005. While there has been a small increase in renewable energy use in recent years, there will have to be a much greater level of deployment over the next decade in order to meet the target.
DECC published the results of analysis and modelling to demonstrate how it might be possible to meet the 15% renewables target by 2020 as part of the UK Renewable Energy Strategy in 2009.
This 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.
The framework for action
The UK renewables policy framework is made up of three key components:
- Financial support for renewables;
- Unblocking barriers to delivery; and
- Developing emerging technologies