LONDON, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The UK is on track to meet its
2020 renewable energy targets after low-carbon electricity
generation grew more than a quarter in the year to end-June
2012, thanks largely to new solar and offshore wind projects, a
government report said.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said
renewable energy accounted for over 10 percent of total
electricity supplied in the 12 months to end-June.
Renewable power output grew 27 percent from July 2011,
according to the UK's latest Renewable Energy Roadmap status
report released on Thursday.
"Renewable energy is increasingly powering the UK's grid,
and the economy too," Energy Secretary Edward Davey, who heads
DECC, said in a statement that accompanied the report.
"It's a fantastic achievement that more than 10 percent of
our power now comes from renewables, given the point from which
we started," he said.
Britain has a target to produce 15 percent of its energy,
including electricity, heat and transport, from renewable
sources by 2020 in a bid to cut climate-warming emissions.
This means that 30 percent of the UK's electricity must come
from renewables by the end of the decade, the government said,
with wind playing a leading role.
"Right now, getting new infrastructure investment into the
economy is crucial to driving growth and supporting jobs across
the country ... I am determined that we get ahead in the global
race on renewables and build on the big-money investments we've
seen this year," Davey said.
DECC has identified around 12.7 billion pounds ($20.6
billion) of confirmed and planned renewable investment by
companies between April 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012, potentially
creating around 22,800 jobs.
The department, which expects the growth in renewables to
continue or accelerate, predicts the industry will support
400,000 direct jobs by 2020, up from around 110,000 jobs
Government subsidies have played a key role in encouraging
investment, however, and economic difficulties have put pressure
on support schemes.
Government departments have reined in spending, though
officials say the falling costs of the technology mean that less
support is required to encourage take-up.
Offshore wind power capacity grew by 60 percent to 2.5
gigawatts (GW), while onshore wind grew by 24 percent to 5.3 GW,
according to figures in the Renewable Energy Roadmap report.
Solar photovoltaics recorded the highest growth with an
increase of five and a half times to 1.4 GW in capacity by the
end of June 2012, the report said.
Industry group RenewableUK welcomed the findings of the
"The update is spot on. It highlights the sector's dynamic
growth and the healthy pipeline of wind, wave and tidal projects
to come," RenewableUK Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said.
"It's right to note that costs are falling steadily, so
renewables will continue to offer even better value for money
for all of us," he said, adding that it will help stabilise the
price of energy.
In November, Britain set out plans to triple support for
low-carbon power generation by 2020 in order to help replace
ageing fossil fuel power plants with less polluting
The outlay will be clawed back through higher energy bills.
Under the agreed Levy Control Framework, spending on
low-carbon power generation will increase to 7.6 billion pounds
a year in real terms by 2020, from the current 2.35 billion
pounds, to reduce dependence on gas.