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UK renewables lag behind Europe

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 June 2009 at 10:53 am

I’ve got good news and bad about the UK’s efforts at introducing renewable energy. For all the Government talk, you’d think that we’re doing quite well at generating heat and power from renewable sources. But, no, we’re not. In fact, if we compare ourselves with other European countries, only Luxembourg and Malta generate less. And that’s despite the much heralded excellent wind resource we have.

Let me put this bad news into context. Sweden leads Europe - 40.8% of its energy came from renewable sources in 2005. Austria was at 23%, Spain at 7.6% and Germany at 5.9%. The UK languished at 1.3%. That’s an increase from 1% in 1995. If we only increased it by that tiny amount in 10 years, we’ve got a bit of a challenge to meet our commitment to getting 15% of our energy from renewables by 2020.

Actually we have upped the pace a little. A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change told the Guardian that between 2005 and now the proportion has risen to "about 1.8%". Does that include all the hot air from politicians I wonder?

Before we totally despair of all politicians, there is some good news on the renewables front too. An early day motion supporting significant investment in solar electricity (PV) has got the support of more MPs than any other motion introduced in this parliament. As I write 258 MPs have signed. You can check here to see if yours is on the list

Photo of solar panels on the GLA building by Abi Skipp

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