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Renewable Energy

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made when benchmarking UK performance of the proportion of (a) energy and (b) electricity in other EU countries which is supplied from renewable sources. (84956)

According to data published by Eurostat in 2004 the United Kingdom ranked 17th of the 25 member states of the EU in terms of the share of electricity from renewable energy to gross electricity consumption. In 1995 the UK ranked 19th and if all countries meet their 2010 targets the UK will move up to 15th. It should be noted that the countries that rank highest (Austria, Latvia and Sweden) have significant and well developed hydro resources and plentiful supplies of biomass (mainly wood).

The International Energy Agency (IEA) produces statistics that exclude hydro generation from the renewables share of electricity production, but this is available for only 19 of the 25 EU member states that are also IEA members. On this basis the UK ranked 13th out of 19 in the latest available year (2003) with Denmark the highest ranking because of its well-developed wind power sector.

The IEA also produces statistics on the contribution of renewable sources to total primary energy supply for the 19 EU member states. Here the UK ranked 17th out of 19 in 2003.

The spring 2006 edition of the “Ernst and Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices”, which provide scores for national renewable energy markets, support mechanisms, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies, placed the UK fifth most attractive in the world (third in Europe) of all countries http://www.ey.com/global/content.nsif/International/ECU_Library

The UK has a target that by 2010, 10 per cent. of all UK electricity produced will come from renewable sources. It was recently announced in the Energy Review (2006) that, in order to further boost investors’ confidence, the Renewables Obligation would be extended to 20 per cent.