U.K. releases 2016 energy statistics

By Anna Simet | August 02, 2017

The United Kingdom is currently ahead of its renewable energy targets laid out in the 2009 European Union Renewable Energy Directive, according to the U.K. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics.

The report, released annually, indicates that in 2016, renewable energy accounted for 8.9 percent of the country’s energy consumption, up 0.7 percent from 2015, and exceeding interim target of 7.5 percent, averaging 8.5 percent between 2015 and ‘16.

Renewable electricity in general accounted for nearly a quarter of total electricity generation, increasing its share by 2.3 percent from 2015. Its capacity, however, fell by 0.2 percent to 83.2 terawatt-hours in 2016.

Renewable heat accounted for 6.2 percent of total heat consumption, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2015. About 15 percent of renewable heat generated in the U.K. in 2016 was supported by the country’s Renewable Heating Incentive. While solar photovoltaics led via capacity, the largest increase in percentage terms was anaerobic digestion, which grew a record 40 percent to 2.1 TWh in 2016, driven by the RHI tariff. Bioenergy in general consisted of 94 percent of the country’s renewable heat in 2016, nearly 58 percent of which was from domestic and industrial combustion of wood.

On progress in specific countries, the report finds that Norway, which reports data despite not being a member of the EU, achieved the highest percent of renewable energy at 69.4, followed by Sweden at 53.9 percent. To date, over one-third of member states have exceeded 2020 targets, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Finland and Sweden, Denmark and Hungary. The finalized 2015 figures for all member states will be published by Eurostat in early 2018, alongside the fourth progress report. 

To meet its 2020 target of 15 percent, the U.K. must increase its share of renewable energy by another 6.8.