Consultant Arup has completed a report for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) showing that renewable sources could provide at least 35% of the UK’s energy capacity by 2020.
In October 2010 Decc appointed Arup to analyse the data available for the UK and put an estimate on the maximum feasible deployment potential and generation costs of renewable electricity technologies up to 2030.
The report suggests there is huge potential to expand the use of renewable energy technology across the country, but the group notes that it will be up to Government, industry and the public to decide how to overcome the barriers to greater use.
“Our research indicates that by 2020 renewable sources could provide 35% of the UK’s energy generating capacity,” said Arup technical director Simon Power. “Indeed, in many cases the generation potential of these technologies is greater than we previously expected.”
“We have taken into consideration costs and barriers to deployment - from planning policy, to skill levels, and the availability of land, materials and equipment. However, this report is not designed to say one solution is better than another. Rather, it provides the Government and other stakeholders with a comprehensive evidence base to make economic and political decisions.”
Arup’s team looked at three levels of constraints that could affect potential annual energy generation from renewable sources - low, medium and high - modelling the effect of changes in output under different scenarios.
The analysis also took into account barriers to deployment - such as planning legislation, the availability of land, skilled labour and equipment, materials or fuel, as well as the costs of connection to the Grid. The research also considers investment and running costs of the various technologies using data collated with assistance from Ernst & Young.
Arup’s independent research will contribute to Decc’s renewable obligation banding review, providing the UK government with one of the most comprehensive analyses available for making decisions about the future of renewable energy in the UK.