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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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?


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371