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UK renewable energy consumption lagging behind, report reveals

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The UK has ranked among the worst nations in the European Union for renewable energy consumption, sparking fresh criticism from the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

According to a new report published by the European Commission (EC), the UK ranks 24thout of 28 nations in terms of renewable energy consumption, with just 8.2 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources in 2015.

In comparison, Sweden – which has the highest rate of renewable energy consumption in the EU – gets more than half (54 per cent) of its energy from green sources, while Finland and Latvia consume 40 and 39 per cent respectively, according to reports.

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA, has again criticised UK energy policy in the wake of the report’s publication, reiterating that our country is highly unlikely to meet EU targets to master 20 per cent carbon-free energy use by 2020.

She said: “We have been saying for some time that the UK is unlikely to meet its 2020 renewable energy target overall given the current policy framework. While we are likely to meet and even overshoot on power, much more progress needs to be made on transport and heat.

“In heat, the Government’s recent reform of the Renewable Heat Incentive has stilted the growth of much of the biomass sector, which was the technology that was previously deploying the majority of the heat under the scheme.

“The Department for Transport should accelerate the introduction of … renewables in the fuel mix, increasing the cap on crops in the production of sustainable biofuels,” she added.

“While the European Commission report indicates that we met our interim target in 2013/2014, the Government has introduced over a dozen negative policy changes that have significantly slowed renewable deployment since that point”.

Contrary to the REA’s criticisms, a spokesperson from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said: “We are currently progressing in line with the trajectory set out in the Renewable Energy Directive, having met the Directive’s interim targets”.