The updated UK Renewable Energy Roadmap delivered a welcome boost for the solar industry after it was named as a key technology in the UK’s quest to meet its binding environmental targets.
Solar now joins onshore and offshore wind, marine energy, heat pump and renewable transport technologies as key technologies identified by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as integral to achieving the UK’s legally-binding 2020 emission targets.
The document provides an update on the deployment of renewables in the UK between July 2011-July 2012. The period saw a 27% increase in overall renewable electricity generated, with more than 10% of all electricity generated in the UK coming from renewable sources. The progress puts the UK well on-track to meet its interim target of 15% of electricity generation from renewables by 2015. The period also saw a 40% increase in UK renewable capacity, driven by a 60% increase in offshore wind capacity to 2.5GW and a five-fold increase in solar PV capacity.
Onshore & offshore wind
- Overall generation and installed capacity both increased by 34%
- Offshore wind increased by 944MW to a total of 2.5GW of installed capacity. Generation hit just over 6TWh for the period July 2011-June 2012.
- Onshore wind increased by 1.1GW to a total of 5.3GW of installed capacity. Generation rose to 11.2TWh for the period July 2011-June 2012 – an increase of 2.3TWh from the previous year.
- Bioenergy installations increased by 900MW over the same period, reaching a total installed capacity of 3.4GW. Generation rose to 14.6TWh, an increase of 1.6TWh from the year before.
- Hydro-generated energy increased by 30% during the period July 2011-June 2012 thanks to increased rainfall from the previous year.
- Solar installations in the UK saw a 466% increase between June 2011-June 2012 with 1.2GW of capacity installed in the period.
The roadmap also reveals that since April 2011, £12.7 billion worth of renewable investment was announced in the UK. In total, there were 22,800 announced jobs in the sector. DECC states: “The renewables sector (covering electricity, heat and transport) currently supports around 110,000 jobs directly and in immediate supply chains, with another 160,000 jobs supported further along the supply chain. By 2020, the sector could support around 400,000 direct and immediate supply chain jobs and many more further along supply chains.”
Commenting on the updated Renewable Energy Roadmap, John Hayes, Minister of State for Energy, said: “Energy is crucial to our economic well-being, bringing in major investment and supporting jobs across the country. I firmly believe that a diverse energy mix is the best way to ensure our energy security. It is extremely encouraging that we have made such positive steps on renewable energy as part of that mix.”