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Alternative Energy

UK Government Wants 10% Renewable Energy by 2010 and 20% by 2020

Research and Markets has announced the addition of Renewable Energy Market Report 2006 to their offering.

This report analyses the UK's use of energy from renewable sources, with particular reference to biofuels and wastes, hydropower, wind and wave power, solar power and geothermal acquifers. In 2005, UK consumption of renewable primary energy was 4.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) - an increase of 15% over the previous year. Biofuels and wastes accounted for much of this figure, with hydropower and wind power being the next most significant renewable sources. Wind power has shown a marked increase in market share in recent years, owing to the growth of offshore wind farms. Co-firing of biomass with fossil fuels has also grown rapidly.

Two factors are driving the development of the renewable-energy market. Firstly, there is a need to find additional primary energy sources as the UK's indigenous oil and gas output declines. Contributions from renewable energy will help to reduce the UK's increasing dependence on imported fossil fuels and thereby reduce the likelihood of disruptions to the UK energy supply caused by international politics or market forces. Secondly, most renewable energy sources (hydropower, wind power, wave power and solar power) do not produce any carbon-dioxide emissions. This will help the UK to meets its environmental commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

However, the market faces several challenges. Gaining planning permission for a new installation can be a long and complex process. On many occasions, proposals have been rejected after 2 or 3 years of discussion. There are also reports of a shortage of suitable sites for large renewable-energy projects, the most attractive sites having already been developed or denied planning permission. Renewable energy does, however, receive support from the Renewables Obligation, which requires electricity suppliers to produce a specified proportion of their electricity from renewable sources. There is also a move towards a more distributed electricity-generation system, and renewable-energy plant has a role to play in this respect.

The UK market for renewable energy is forecast to grow. The Government's aspiration is that renewable energy should provide the fuel for 10% of the UK's electricity requirement by 2010, and 20% by 2020. Although output from renewable sources is growing rapidly and could almost reach the 2010 target, there will have to be an even more rapid expansion in the volume of renewable-energy plant if the 2020 target is to be met.

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