UK edges closer to EU’s 2020 renewable goals

The UK generated 8.9% of its entire energy consumption from renewable sources in 2016. That’s according to new information released by the UK Government, which reveals this is a 0.7% […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The UK generated 8.9% of its entire energy consumption from renewable sources in 2016.

That’s according to new information released by the UK Government, which reveals this is a 0.7% increase on the year before.

It marks the latest step in the nation’s progress towards the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) target, which requires this figure to reach 20% by 2020.

Renewable electricity represented just under a quarter of total generation, with 6.2% of heat coming from clean sources. Transport used renewable power to generate around 4.5% of its total usage.

The UK has now exceeded its third interim target; averaged over 2015 and 2016, renewables achieved 8.5% against its target of 7.5%.

Electricity generation in the UK from renewable sources fell marginally by 0.2% between 2015 and 2016 to 83.2TWh.

This is a result of lower rainfall and wind speeds resulting in reduced hydro and wind generation, more than offsetting a 16% increase in total green capacity to 35.7GW last year.

Onshore wind generation fell by 8.4% to 21TWh and offshore fell by 5.8% to 16.4GWh as wind speeds dropped from their highest point in 15 years in 2015.

Solar was the leading technology in capacity terms at 11.9GW for the second year in a row, representing around a third of installations and resulting in a 38% increase in generation.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has said growth in the renewable energy sector is slowing down as a result of policy instability.