UK’s poor renewables performance

 

You will see from the table below sourced from EurActiv.com that the UK’s share of renewables within it’s energy mix is quite frankly pathetic; 1.3%.

The Renewables Directive aims to change this by producing clear targets for all 27 EU states. Why have successive UK governments dragged their heals for so long? I’m told it’s the fault of a beleaguered nuclear industry taking up so much of our government’s time in attempting to sort out the mess.

Member State

Share of renewables in 2005

Share required by 2020

Austria

23.3%

34%

Belgium

2.2%

13%

Bulgaria

9.4%

16%

Cyprus

2.9%

13%

Czech Republic

6.1%

13%

Denmark

17%

30%

Estonia

18%

25%

Finland

28.5%

38%

France

10.3%

23%

Germany

5.8%

18%

Greece

6.9%

18%

Hungary

4.3%

13%

Ireland

3.1%

16%

Italy

5.2%

17%

Latvia

34.9%

42%

Lithuania

15%

23%

Luxembourg

0.9%

11%

Malta

0%

10%

The Netherlands

2.4%

14%

Poland

7.2%

15%

Portugal

20.5%

31%

Romania

17.8%

24%

Slovak Republic

6.7%

14%

Slovenia

16%

25%

Spain

8.7%

20%

Sweden

39.8%

49%

United Kingdom

1.3%

15%

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13 Responses to UK’s poor renewables performance

  1. keithsc says:

    Still we are doing better than Luxembourg and Malta. So we’ve got something to build on.

  2. matt says:

    Keith I was genuinely shocked by these figures. Probably because this country appears to be in the grip of a drive to install more renewables. It gives the impression of progress but the UK is obviously starting from a pathetically low baseline.

  3. Pete Smith says:

    I take it these figures include biomass burning. If you take that out our figures look even worse, especially since we have some of the best wind, wave and tidal in Europe.

  4. matt says:

    I have no idea but clearly the people of the UK can’t go on moaning about the whys ans wherefores for too much longer. I accept that we can learn from other countries mistakes and take advantage now of better technologies and that the UK seems to be moving into a leading role with marine renewables. But the government has got to put in as much enthusiasm for creating a sustainable renewables industry as it does with encouraging billionaires to stay in this country tax free.

    Otherwise they’re not getting my vote in the next election. 🙂

  5. Pete Smith says:

    Fair comment, but how things pan out in the future is better understood if you drill down past the overall figures. If you filter out the things that individual countries do most of (biomass in the UK, wind for Germany, hydro in Scandinavia) you get an insight into where the growth will come from, as the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. In the UK we’ve hardly scratched the surface for tidal, wave or wind, and the nature of those technologies means that growth could be quite fast.

  6. matt says:

    Yes I was wondering how places like Romania have done better on their percentage share and assumed hydro. I don’t have a break down for those figures unfortunately.

    Let’s hope you’re right about the UK.

  7. Pete Smith says:

    The Euractiv site you linked to has a link to an IEA fact sheet ‘Renewables In Global Energy Supply’
    http://www.iea.org/textbase/papers/2006/renewable_factsheet.pdf
    which gives national breakdowns for renewables including and excluding “combustible renewables and waste”. This shows that in the UK in 2004 renewables were 1.5% of total primary energy supply, but only 0.3% if you exclude the combustible renewables and waste.
    If you do the same for Romania, they go down from 12% to 3.9%.

  8. matt says:

    Are they including the burning of waste in power stations under ‘combustible renewables and waste’? I certainly hope not!

  9. Pete Smith says:

    I think they probably are

  10. matt says:

    Sorry, to be specific I was refering to burning household waste in power stations being included within renewable energy figures, not crop waste and the like (but you probably assumed that anyway).

  11. Pete Smith says:

    From the IEA factsheet:
    “Renewables include the following categories:
    Combustible Renewables and Waste (CRW):
    Solid Biomass: Covers organic, non-fossil material of biological origin which may be used as fuel for heat production or electricity generation.
    Wood, Wood Waste, Other Solid Waste: Covers purpose-grown energy
    crops (poplar, willow etc.), a multitude of woody materials generated by an
    industrial process (wood/paper industry in particular) or provided directly
    by forestry and agriculture (fi rewood, wood chips, bark, sawdust, shavings,chips, black liquor etc.) as well as wastes such as straw, rice husks, nut shells,poultry litter, crushed grape dregs etc.
    Charcoal: Covers the solid residue of the destructive distillation and
    pyrolysis of wood and other vegetal material.
    Biogas: Gases composed principally of methane and carbon dioxide
    produced by anaerobic digestion of biomass and combusted to produce
    heat and/or power.
    Liquid Biofuels: Bio-based liquid fuel from biomass transformation, mainly
    used in transportation applications.
    Municipal Waste (renewables): Municipal waste energy comprises wastes
    produced by the residential, commercial and public services sectors and
    incinerated in specifi c installations to produce heat and/or power. The
    renewable energy portion is defined by the energy value of combusted
    biodegradable material.
    *Some of the waste (the non-biodegradable part of the waste) is not considered renewables as such. However, proper breakdown between renewables and non-renewables is not always available.

  12. matt says:

    Blimey, there is a lot of different fuel sources in there and the household waste burnt in incinerators shouldn’t be there!

  13. Pete Smith says:

    I find the idea that bio-degradable household waste counts as a renewable energy source faintly ludicrous. The supply of waste may appear inexhaustible, but that doesn’t make it sustainable. The criterion should be whether that waste was produced from renewable sources, not whether it rots down if given the chance.

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