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Government Policies

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Over the past decade, the UK government has shown a serious commitment to increasing energy production from renewable resources. Now, various targets have been imposed under a range of different legislations and Government schemes.

Global level

The Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect in February 2005, was signed by 37 countries worldwide, including the UK. This agreement was a promise that every nation would endeavour to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2% below their 1990 levels by 2012.

UK Wide

A combination of climate change, environmental concerns and the limited supply of fossil fuels has resulted in an increased demand and need for renewable energy sources. As a result, in December 2008 the EU Parliament voted in favour of the EU Renewable Energy Directive which commits the EU to an overall EU-wide target of sourcing 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Under this legislation each European country has been set an individual target to enable the EU overall to successfully meet this target.

The UK has signed up to the EU Renewable Energy Directive which means that the UK has a legally binding target to source 15%  of energy from renewable sources by 2020. Increased renewable energy sources within the UK will aid the country to become less reliant on imported fossil fuels and related price fluctuations whilst also playing an important role in reducing carbon in the atmosphere. The UK Government details how it envisages reaching its targets by producing a policy called the UK Renewable Energy Strategy published in 2009.

The UK Government’s strategy estimates that by 2020 the following proportions of energy consumption need to be generated from renewable sources:

1.            more than 30% (including 2 percent in small-scale generation) of electricity;

2.            12% renewable energy in heat; and

3.            10% in transport

The UK Renewable Energy Strategy highlights the importance of financial incentives to attract investment into the renewable sector. For electricity generation, this is in the form of the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) for projects and technologies above 5MW and the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) up to 5MW.

The coalition government has made its commitment to increasing renewable energy production clear. The latest targets are laid out in the Electricity Market Reform White Paper and UK Renewable Energy Roadmap, which were published by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) in July 2011. These clearly show that the government is confident that they can meet the target set by the EU, to produce 15% of the UK’s energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.


The Scottish Government has always been ambitious in its attitudes to a green future and a positive attitude towards renewable energy. In May 2011 First Minister Alex Salmond of the Scottish Government increased the target of producing electricity from renewable energy from 80% to 100% by 2020.