UK energy needs
It is a government priority to increase the amount of energy generated from renewable and low carbon sources, such as wind power and biomass. This is essential for a more diverse energy mix, providing greater security of supply and price stability, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Stated government intentions include plans to:
- Source 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020
- Generate up to 35% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: a reduction of at least 34% by 2020, and at least an 80% cut by 2050
- Increase the amount of heat generated from renewable and low carbon sources that can be used by industry, businesses and housing.
In 2011, 9.4% of the UK's electricity was derived from renewable sources, a figure that has risen slightly in recent years (2010 - 6.8%). There is a requirement for significant new generation capacity if the government's targets are to be met.
The Scottish Government has set a target to generate the equivalent of 100% of the country's electricity needs from renewables by 2020 - renewables contributed 35% in 2011.