In parallel to the publication of its Low Carbon Transition Plan, the Government also published yesterday its Renewable Energy Strategy (the Strategy), which sets out in particular how the UK could meet its renewable energy targets for 2020. The Strategy will be of particular interest to all stakeholders within the renewable energy industry.

The aim of the Strategy is to enable the Government to tackle climate change and reduce the UK's emissions of carbon dioxide by over 750 million tonnes between now and 2030. The Government hopes that these aims will promote security of energy supply, reduce overall fossil fuel demand by 10% and gas imports by 20-30% against what they would have otherwise been by 2020. A further potential benefit of implementing the Strategy would be the expansion of economic opportunities through the creation of half a million more jobs in the UK renewable energy sector resulting in around £100 billion of new investment.

Key Points

The Strategy sets out the Government's action plan for delivering its renewables goals. According to the Government's lead renewable energy strategy scenario, by 2020 the UK could see:

  • more than 30% of electricity generated from renewables
  • 12% of heat generated from renewables; and
  • 10% of transport energy from renewables

To attain this scenario, the Strategy sets out:

  • The path to 2020 and the required balance of fuels and technologies – The Government suggests that as much as 30% of electricity could come from renewables by 2020, more than two-thirds of which could come from on and offshore wind, with further important contributions from hydro, sustainable bioenergy, marine sources and small-scale technologies. 12% of heat could come from sustainable biomass biogas, solar and heat pumps. Renewable sources could provide 10% of the UK's road and rail transport energy
  • A strategic role for the Government – The government will provide greater financial support, aimed at a wider range of technologies and groups in society; swifter delivery, including in the planning system and in supply chains, stronger renewable industry, quicker and better grid connection and more sustainable bioenergy. There will also be a stronger push on new technologies and resources to help reduce the cost of meeting the UK's 2020 targets, such as an analysis of whether to go ahead with the Severn tidal power scheme and supporting investment in key emerging technologies with total funding from DECC of around £450 million over two years
  • Opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses – The Government will give communities an opportunity to harness renewable resources and their benefits through the introduction of new mechanisms for financial support, improved advice and robust industry standards for households, which wish to install renewable generation. Regional bodies, Local Authorities and communities will be engaged through the planning system in which communities will play an integral role in decisions on where renewable generation is located

To access the Renewable Energy Strategy, please click here.

To read our previous Law-Now on the Government's Low Carbon Transition Plan, please click here.

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Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 16/07/2009.