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UK On Track To Miss 2020 Renewable Energy Targets, Says National Grid

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The UK electricity System Operator, National Grid, has released a report that concludes the UK will likely miss its 2020 renewable energy targets.

According to National Grid, the System Operator of the country’s gas and electricity systems, in none of the four Future Energy Scenarios will the UK meet its renewable energy target of sourcing 15% of the heating and transport sectors’ energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020. The authors of the report note that “significant process has been made towards the target,” but believe that, “with 2020 only four years away it is very challenging to meet.”

“This is just the latest piece of research which shows the UK is set to miss its 2020 renewable energy targets,” said Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, in response to the release of the report. “We have simply failed to grow renewables’ share of the energy used in heat and transport to the levels required, and we will not meet our climate change targets without massive changes in these two areas.”

The four scenarios that the authors worked from are shown below:

National Grid-2

The report claims that its Gone Green scenario will see the UK’s unofficial sub-target of sourcing 34% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 thanks to the growth of wind, bioenergy, and solar generation. However, the 2020 renewable target will still miss, with it unlikely at this stage that the heating and transport sectors will reach their targets of 15% of energy being sourced from renewables — with the Gone Green scenario predicting it will happen in 2022, through to 2029 in the No Progression scenario.

Heating requires the most development, and to meet the 15% target, renewable heat needs to increase by around 60 TWh from 2016 levels. The renewable transport sector requires an increase of around 25 TWh above the current level of 14.5 TWh.

In terms of the long-term growth of renewables, the report notes that action must be taken this decade if the UK is to begin making progress towards its 2050 target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels. Decarbonizing the electricity sector is of prime importance, as is decarbonizing the heating and transport sectors.

“According to the report, we need to triple the UK’s capacity of renewable electricity generation if we are meet our 2050 climate change targets in the most competitive way possible,” Mr Stuart added. “There is no way we will deliver that without clear and coherent short, medium and long-term objectives for the energy sector – and policies to achieve these.”

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