UK region reaches 1GW renewable energy milestone

The total capacity of renewable electricity in the south west has grown from 714MW in 2012 to more than 1 GW, according to a report released today.

The region now generates 7.3% of its electricity from renewable sources, mostly in the form of solar PV, biomass and heat pumps.

Despite this strong growth, the report from renewable energy firm Regen SW, warns that the south west is not on track to meet the government target of deriving 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Regen SW chief executive Merlin Hyman said the report was encouraging but that the current trajectory would see the south west fall a long way short of the 2020 target.

“This means we’ll be missing out the chance to create 34,000 high-value new jobs in the sector, the opportunity to become less reliant on uncertain oversees supplies of fossil fuels, and the opportunity of using our local renewable energy resources to generate income and fuel security for local communities,” he said.

The report includes a full breakdown of all the region’s renewable energy technologies, details of current initiatives to drive forward the sector and an analysis of exactly what the south west must do to get on track to meet government targets.

According to Regen, measures necessary for meeting the target include the successful delivery of government policies, such as the Electricity Market Reform and Green Deal, which would provide a consistent and coherent policy framework.

In addition, the report calls for greater investment into the local grid and for the roll out of new ‘smart’ technology.

A separate report released last week from the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) showed that the UK was not on track to meet its 2020 European renewables targets, ranking the UK as 25th out of 27 member states for renewables contribution. 

Conor McGlone

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