To meet the EU 15% renewable energy target will be a significant challenge for the UK. It is important to understand that reductions in the UK’s total energy demand will produce proportional reductions in the renewable contribution required. Although self-evident, this simple fact is often overlooked. Indeed the UK has to date failed to achieve any reductions in energy use, in fact the reverse is true: energy consumption in the key sectors of electricity and energy for transport continues to rise steadily.
In addition to reducing the demand for energy, there will need to be a massive increase in the contribution of renewables to transport fuel (predominately biofuels), heat and electricity. This submission concentrates on renewable electricity because UKERC has core competency this area. In Table 1, below, UKERC presents an illustrative scenario for the contribution ofrenewable electricity technologies towards the 2020 target. In this scenario 41% of UK electricity will need to be generated by renewables, most likely dominated by wind power (28%) and biomass (7%). This will be extremely challenging both in terms of renewable energy generation plant installation rates and the world capacity to build and deliver the technology, and also in terms of integration issues. Immediate and wide scale mobilisation of resources (human and otherwise) is required.