When the UK agreed to ramp up renewable energy
supplies by a factor of eight, energy commentators were
skeptical about whether the target
was achievable. Six years later, the country could defy
expectations: according to new government figures, it's on track to
hit the target.
Government officials were reportedly
horrified in 2007 when the then
Prime Minister, Tony Blair,
signed the UK up to a European
Union target to source 20 per cent of the continent's energy from
renewables by 2020. Perhaps that's not surprising: in 2007, the UK
generated just 1.8 per cent of its energy - or
5.6 per cent of electricity - from
renewables, so meeting the target would require a big leap.
A lot's changed since then, however. The latest
iteration of the
governnment's renewable energy roadmap,
out this week, suggests the UK is on track to hit its
country-specific target of generating
15 per cent of its energy from
renewables by the end of the decade.
But before the government gets over-confident, it's
worth remembering there's a long way to go yet.
Significant growth in renewables
The UK had signed up to a significant challenge -
perhaps more than Blair realised
at the time. According to the
Renewable Energy Association, it would mean renewables would have
to grow at a rate of
16.5 per cent a year.
It certainly focused minds in government. Two
merged to create the Department
for Energy and Climate Change in 2008, in the hope of creating a
ministry equal to the task.