This Key Note Market Report analyses the UK renewable energy market, with particular emphasis on biomass, hydropower, wind/wave power and solar energy. UK renewable energy use in 2008 was 5.9 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe), an increase of 14.4% on the previous year. Biomass was the main contributor to this total, with the next most significant renewable sources being transport fuels, wind power and hydropower. Recent years have shown rapid growth in wind power, especially offshore wind farms. There has also been strong growth in renewable transport fuels (biodiesel and bioethanol). Generation of electricity is the major use of renewables, the main sources here being landfill gas, followed by wind and wave power and hydropower. The use of renewables for generating heat is dominated by biomass (mostly wood combustion).
Key Note suggests that the market for renewable energy is being driven by two main factors: energy security and a reduction in carbon emissions. Energy security is becoming a more significant factor as output from the UK’s offshore oil/gas industry decreases. Unless changes are made to the UK’s energy sourcing strategy, more imports of fossil fuels would be required to make up for this decline in indigenous production.
In terms of reducing carbon emissions, in July 2009 the Government published The UK Renewable Energy Strategy to show how the UK can reach its goal of producing 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020. The UK Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, another government report also published in July 2009, gave details of the UK’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 26% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Again, this will involve a major contribution by the renewable energy market (as well as nuclear power). Nuclear power has now received the government go-ahead and major energy companies are planning to renew the UK’s ageing nuclear power stations.
This report is available to current London Business School staff, students and faculty from Key Note Online which can be found on the A-Z list of library databases within Portal
A hardcopy of this report can be found in the market reports collection located on the first floor of the library.
Photo from Creative Commons: Flickr: John Thrum