The UK has taken the lead in the race to clean up the energy system by implementing renewable energy projects and cutting down on coal-fired power faster than other European countries.
Alongside Germany, the UK is leading the way on support for wind and solar power. However, unlike Germany, the UK is also getting rid of high-carbon coal-fired power in favour of cleaner sources at a quicker rate than almost anywhere else in the European Union.
The findings were published by a German think tank and a Brussels-based campaign group that poured cold water on claims that Brexit may damage the UK’s ‘green’ credentials by removing the EU’s clean energy and climate change targets.
The UK wants to put an end to all coal-fired power by 2025 and has already displayed one of the largest reductions in coal use across the EU, behind Denmark.
The share of coal in the electricity generation mix fell by 22 percentage points from 28% in 2010 to just 7% last year.
The UK is increasingly relying on wind and solar farms in their renewable energy projects, and has increased its share of wind, solar and biomass by 20 percentage points from 8pc in 2010 to 28pc in 2017, just behind Denmark’s progress.
A report published in Brussels this year, said: “Even Germany didn’t manage the same growth as the UK – it only expanded by 17 percentage points from 13% in 2010 to 30% in 2017. Although its penetration is still slightly higher at 30% versus the UK’s 28%.”
Within the EU, the UK is expected to meet renewable energy targets for the electricity, heat and transport sectors.
The UK is also fast approaching its 2020 target to generate 30% of its electricity from renewables but it is not yet halfway towards the target of 12% in heat and 10% in transport.
Through a Clean Growth Strategy, ministers are looking to take on renewable heat and transport targets, which will focus on a push towards electric vehicles, energy efficient homes, and low-carbon heating.
Britain will put an end to coal use by 2025, so the emerging fleet of electric vehicles to hit British roads will be powered by cleaner generation.
Elsewhere, the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal have all vowed to follow the UK’s lead in setting an end-date for coal.
France even one-upped the British pledge by vowing to scrap coal from their energy mix four years earlier by 2021, although the end of coal’s modest 1% share of the French power system will have a far more limited impact on carbon emissions.
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