In an effort to comply with a legally binding EU target to source 15% of energy from renewables, the UK has set itself subtargets of 30% of electricity from renewables, 12% of heat, and 10% of transport fuel. While the UK is on track to hit its electricity targets, Davey said there was work to do on heat and transport.

Renewables supplied just less than 18% of electricity in the first three quarters of 2014, while biofuels accounted for around 4% of all road fuel in the same period. The most recent figures edie could find for heat (2012) suggested that just 2.3% of the UK’s heat comes from renewable sources.


Speaking in Parliament earlier today (21 January) as part of Decc’s annual review, Davey said: “Renewable Heat is going less well [than electricity]. The RHI was delayed coming out, possibly because it was the world’s first, and although we are seeing some take-up on the domestic and non-domestic side, we are going to have to do better in the next parliament to hit our renewable heat targets.”

The Lib Dem MP said his department has been funding heat network feasibility studies for local authorities to help encourage take up of the technology, which generates and distributes heat from a central source, wasting less energy.

Just yesterday, Davey announced the winners of a £7m fund to support innovation on heat networks, championing their ability to cut emissions and improve efficiency. Winning projects included a project combining solar and heat pump technology in Exeter to a scheme trialling super-insulated pipes in West Cumbria.


Transport fuel is also on track to miss its 10% renewable target for 2020, as Davey explained: “Again, we’ve had a few issues, not least because the first generation of biofuels was less environmentally friendly than they could have been.

“My colleagues in the Department for Transport and I have pursued a greening of that approach and I hope we will see a lot more advanced biofuels coming through, which will assist in those targets.”

Davey’s optimism is supported by a recent University of Utrecht study, which suggested that new biofuels will not damage food-producing agricultural land and can ‘contribute signifcantly’ towards reaching EU targets. However, investment in the biofuel sector could fall, as experts predict the oil price crash could stymie demand for renewable fuel.

Brad Allen

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