UK lags behind most of the EU in renewable energy usage
New figures show that the UK ranks distressingly low on the EU’s renewable energy consumption list.
Of the 28 nations examined, the UK ranks 24th. The European Union’s target of 20 percent carbon-free energy use by 2020 has already been smashed by Sweden, which by far tops the list at 54 percent of energy coming from renewable sources. The UK, however, is not pulling its weight, using only 8.2 percent.
According to The Independent, Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: "We have been saying for some time that the UK is unlikely to meet its 2020 renewable energy target overall given the current policy framework.
"While we are likely to meet and even overshoot on power, much more progress needs to be made on transport and heat.
“In heat, the Government’s recent reform of the Renewable Heat Incentive has stilted the growth of much of the biomass sector, which was the technology that was previously deploying the majority of the heat under the scheme.
“The Department for Transport should accelerate the introduction of ... renewables in the fuel mix, increasing the cap on crops in the production of sustainable biofuels.
“While the European Commission report indicates that we met our interim target in 2013/2014, the Government has introduced over a dozen negative policy changes that have significantly slowed renewable deployment since that point.
"The UK is moving to 15 per cent renewable energy from a low base and, as the report points out, along with the Netherlands, France, and Luxembourg we have the biggest gap to meet our target.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: "We are currently progressing in line with the trajectory set out in the Renewable Energy Directive, having met the Directive’s interim targets."
See all the official information on the European Commission website here.
Read the January 2017 issue of Energy Digital magazine
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.