Renewables in the UK

In this post, Eleanor discusses the use of renewables in the UK and how the Groundsure Energy report can help you to know more about planned and existing energy installations. If you have any questions or comments about this article you can contact the residential consultancy team at residential@groundsure.com.


Up until recent years the UK has relied on our supplies of oil, gas, and coal in order to supply our homes, power our transport, and support our businesses. However, as the global energy demand increases, and our understanding of the harmful effects of using fossil fuels has developed; we need to increase the use of renewable energies to counter balance this.

Because we have been so reliant on fossils fuels as our main source of energy we have not invested as much time or money into exploring our renewable resources. This is something that we aim to change. The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive has set a target of getting 20% of all its energy, such as electricity, heat and transport, from renewable sources by 2020. In order to achieve this, EU countries have agreed to reach their own national renewables targets and are obligated to have at least 10% of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by 20201.  The UK is set to achieve 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 20202.

Although some countries have already met their 2020 target, some have not. In particular the UK, who is the third biggest underachiever after France and the Netherlands, will have a lot of work to do in order to meet their 2020 target3. Although quite a long way off achieving their goal, in 2015 nearly half of the UK’s energy came from renewable sources such as wind, biomass and solar energy, and nuclear power; outperforming coal power for the first time1.

Whilst onshore wind energy grew by 23% and offshore wind and biomass grew by 30%, the greatest increase was solar power, which grew 87% and met approximately 2% of the UK’s electricity needs for 20154. More recently, in May 2016, for the first time ever, solar power generated more electricity than coal for a full month4.

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Due to a series of Government subsidy schemes and improved technology renewable electricity sources have grown in recent years. One such example of a scheme that may benefit from governmental support through subsidisation is Britain’s first ‘green gas mill’. The idea is that grass will be converted into biomethane to heat over 4000 homes5.  Grass can be grown on land that was previously used for grazing livestock or lower quality arable farmland, which has the potential to produce 66% of commercial and domestic gas demand by 2035 6. Not only can this contribute to the reduction in carbon emissions and subsequently make Britain more energy independent, but also provide environmental benefits including increased biodiversity6.

Although the use of renewable energies has increased recently; the UK is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels for 54% of its power and 82% of its energy4.  In order to adequately meet energy demands and to secure the UK’s future energy needs we need to increase the proportion energy we obtain from renewable resources such as solar, wind, nuclear power and other alternative energy sources.

If you would like to know more about existing and planned energy extraction and generation installations within the vicinity of your property you may wish to consider ordering an energy report. More information about which data is covered within our report can be found via the following link: https://www.groundsure.com/report/energy/.

 

References

  1. Renewable energy- Moving towards a low carbon economy available at: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/renewable-energy
  2. National Renewable Energy Action Plan for the United Kingdom: Article 4 of the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC. Available at https://ec.europa.eu/energy/node/71
  3. Who’s hitting the EU’s 2020 renewables target — and who’s holding it back? Available at: https://www.carbonbrief.org/whos-hitting-the-eus-2020-renewables-target-and-whos-holding-it-back
  4. Six charts show UK progress towards low-carbon energy. Available at: https://www.carbonbrief.org/six-charts-show-uk-progress-towards-low-carbon-energy
  5. Could gas from grass rival fracking to heat UK homes> Available at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/18/could-gas-from-grass-rival-fracking-to-heat-uk-homes
  6. How Green Gas Works Available at: https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-green-energy/our-green-gas/how-green-gas-works

 

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