UK lagging on renewables
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The UK is on course to be at least two years late in meeting its target to produce 15% of energy from renewable sources, according to the National Grid.
In its annual Future Energy Scenarios report, the power transmission organisation considered the UK’s energy trajectory to 2050 under four settings depending on the environmental ambition of policy.
Even under the most optimistic one, the UK is likely to meet its target only in 2022, two years later than required under the EU Renewable Energy Directive. The greatest contributor is currently from renewable electricity, which already stands at 25% of all electricity generation. This needs to rise to 34% by 2020, and National Grid is confident this will happen under all scenarios.
But progress in transport is slower, with 14.5 TWh of energy now generated from renewable sources against a 24 TWh needed by 2020. The rate of growth in renewable transport fuel needs to rise from an average of 1 TWh a year on average to 6 TWh, the company estimated.
It noted that, although road transport could be electrified at relatively low cost, aviation and shipping present significant challenges. For renewable heat to achieve its contribution to the target, it needed to increase from current levels of 35 TWh to 60 TWh, National Grid said. The technologies were available to meet this level, but the rate of growth had to rise 2.5 TWh on average to 12.5 TWh a year.
Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said ther were many renewable electricity projects that could provide cheap and clean electricity before 2020 and make up the shortfall from heat and transport. He pointed out, however, that onshore wind and solar were ineligible to bid for long-term contracts for power, and that other technologies could not access support until 2021 at the earliest.
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