Renewable energy use increases in U.K., but emissions also rise

Total generation in 2011 in the U.K. amounted to 367.8 TWh, falling by 1.25 percent to 363.2 TWh in 2012, largely as a result of decreased emissions from manufacturing in the industrial sector.

In the E.U., emissions fell by 1.4 percent in total, with a 3.9 percent fall in industrial sector emissions, but the power sector only reduced emissions by 0.4 percent, largely thanks to generous support schemes in Italy that saw a 5.7 percent fall in emissions.

Renewable energy generation in the U.K. increased from 34.9TWh in 2011 to 41.8 TWh in 2012, an improvement of around 20 percent that boosted renewables’ share of electricity generation from 9.5 percent to 11.5 percent in the U.K. by the end of 2012.

After millions of pounds of investment and multiple government support schemes to decarbonize the power sector, the U.K.’s renewable generation capacity rose by around 25 percent to 15.5 GW by the end of 2012, with offshore wind and onshore wind each contributing an extra 1.2 GW of capacity.

However, compared with 2011, emissions from the U.K. power generation sector actually increased by 4.7 percent in 2012.

Elsewhere in Europe, France’s emissions increased by 3.9 percent in 2012 and Germany’s emissions increased by 0.5 percent due to the shale gas revolution in the U.S. and the abundance of cheap coal imports.

The U.K.’s Carbon Price Floor Plan will become effective this year, with a GBP16/ton price tag on carbon dioxide emissions, increasing to GBP30/ton by 2020, but in the rest of Europe carbon emissions are trading at less than EUR5/ton, and reduced output from the industrial sector could lead to further oversupply of emissions permits.

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