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Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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7 EU and UK renewable energy prospects 2020–2030

As we have seen, renewable energy sources are already providing a significant and increasing proportion of the world’s primary energy, and here we look briefly at the prospects for renewable energy in the EU as a whole, and in the UK in particular, in coming decades

EU 2020 targets

The EU’s ‘20:20:20’ Directive, passed in 2009, set a target for Europe to achieve by 2020 (CEC, 2009):

  1. a 20% reduction in carbon (CO2) emissions from their 1990 level.
  2. a 20% contribution to gross final energy consumption from renewable sources.
  3. Under the Paris Agreement at COP21, individual European states have made COP21 pledges of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Some of these are statements of intended cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, others include specific renewable energy targets.

UK targets

The UK is bound by its Climate Change Act (2008), updated from time to time, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 and has promised to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2025.

Activity 5

Are you aware of any support measures that have been, or could be introduced by the UK Government to ensure these targets are met?


The measures the UK Government has put in place to ensure that these 2020 targets are met include:

  1. A Renewables Obligation (RO) – large-scale electricity suppliers must source a significant proportion of their supplies from renewable sources.
  2. A ‘Feed-in Tariff’ scheme under which premium prices are paid to small-scale generators of renewable electricity.
  3. A Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – incentives to encourage the use of heat-producing renewables.
  4. A Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) – road fuel suppliers are obliged to blend in a proportion of biofuels.
  5. A Green Investment Bank – channelling capital towards renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Those are some of the measures, but what else is in the pipeline?