Share of renewables in the UK electricity generating capacity has overtaken fossil fuels for the first time as it reached 42 GW

Renewable energy is derived from resources that are replenished on a human timescale; examples include sunlight, wind, rains, waves, tides, geothermal heat and biomass. Renewable energy is used in three main areas: electricity generation, air and water heating and cooling, and transportation. Renewables are also suited to provide off-grid energy solutions in rural and remote areas. The overall production and use of renewable energy usually produce minimal greenhouse gases and have the potential to significantly reduce air pollution compared to hydrocarbon alternatives. Deployment of renewable energy also has potential energy security benefits, with renewable resources spread over wide geographical areas.

In light of the current greenhouse gas-driven warming of the climate and the associated impacts, a global transition to low carbon energy is underway with renewable energy at the forefront. Related technologies are rapidly becoming more efficient and falling in costs; some renewable energy forms like solar PV and onshore wind that once depended heavily on government support are now at or approaching cost-parity with fossil fuel generation. Since most renewables produce electricity, increasing the share of renewable energy in the whole energy system can be achieved by electrifying the heat and transport sectors, in combination with increasing the proportion of electricity provided by renewables. Besides electrification, the transport sector can benefit from biofuels which can substitute for oil products. The heat sector can see further deployment of solar water heating, biomass-fuelled burners and direct geothermal heating. Renewable energy is expected to continue expanding its share in the energy mix, as costs come down, innovative technologies are commercialised, and environmental drivers strengthen. In the short term, the EU has a target for 20% of all electricity to be generated from renewables by 2020. However, to meet long-term climate and sustainability goals, renewable energy deployment must accelerate in all sectors, enabled by policy and markets.

You can find further information below about the technologies, costs and current developments within each of the seven major types of renewables:

For the latest news and articles on renewable energy read Energy World.

Learn more about renewables by reading our Energy Insights.

View upcoming consultations and policies on renewables on our Policy Milestones Calendar.

What's new?

E.ON and RWE complete renewable power supply deal

11-01-2020
E.ON and RWE Renewables have announced an agreement for the former to purchase the output of more than 20 British wind farms operated by the latter, to support E.ON’s commitment to provide 100% renewable power for its UK customers. The agreement will last for two-and-a-half years. With this pow...

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HVDC can connect a world of renewable resources

1-01-2020
HVDC cables are a more efficient method of transmitting power over long distances, which makes them ideal for bringing renewable power from remote regions to population centres – and for linking grids together. ABB's Athanasios Krontiris takes up the story. 

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Eni’s world oil, gas and renewables review

8-11-2019
Eni has just published the second volume of its World Oil, Gas and Renewables Review, which provides data on natural gas, renewable energy sources (solar and wind) and biofuels. The first volume was published in July 2019 and focused on the oil market and refining sector.According to the latest...

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Renewables overtook fossil fuels in UK – for a whole quarter

24-10-2019
Electricity generated from renewable sources exceeded that from fossil fuels for the third quarter of 2019, according to analysis by the Carbon Brief website. During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated 29.5 TWh, compared with 29.1 TWh from fossil fuels.&...

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Indonesia moves to capitalise on renewable resources

1-10-2019
Indonesia was the world’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2015. Will a new, government-driven renewables programme be able to improve the country’s environmental profile as it strives to expand energy access? David Hayes takes a look at progress so far.

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Events and training

AGM + Decommissioning Offshore Wind Farms - Learning from the Mistakes of the Petroleum Industry

22-01-2020
An essential part of any capital project is the late-life stage and the eventual removal and decommissioning of facilities, and renewables are no exception. In the spring of 2019 the first offshore wind farm built in UK waters, two turbines near Blyth, was dismantled.

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Flexible Energy Networks: Designing the 21st Century Power Grid

30-01-2020
Please join EI London YPN for a panel debate and an evening of networking with thought leaders in flexibility for the UK energy market. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

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Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - March 2020

2-03-2020
About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping participants with all the essential knowledge and skills they need to save energy, reduce operational costs and carbon emissions, comply with legislat...

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Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - June 2020

22-06-2020
About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping participants with all the essential knowledge and skills they need to save energy, reduce operational costs and carbon emissions, comply with legislat...

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L1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - Middle East - July 2020

19-07-2020
About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping participants with all the essential knowledge and skills they need to save energy, reduce operational costs and carbon emissions, comply with legislat...

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Technical guidance publications

G+ Integrated Offshore Emergency Response (G+ IOER) Good practice guidelines for offshore renewable energy developments

2019
This publication is available to download for free.This document has been produced to share good practice within the offshore renewable energy industry. It aims to provide a structure for accountable organisations to identify offshore renewable risks and the contingency measures that are required to...

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Battery storage guidance note 1: Battery storage planning

2019
This publication is free to download. Please log in to see the download option.Battery storage is expected to play an important role in the energy transition, allowing the storage of electrical energy from renewables for later use, and helping to balance grid load. This publication provides guidance...

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G+ Safe by design Workshop report: Hydraulic torqueing and tensioning systems

2019
This publication is available to download for free.This G+ Safe by Design workshop examined hydraulic torqueing and tensioning on the main flange connections and the associated large fasteners and tooling. The workshop was held in London on 5 March 2019 and explored hydraulic torqueing and tens...

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Research report: Issues associated with aging combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) assets

2019
This research report was commissioned to explore the risks that aging CCGT plant components impose on people, environment and the wider plant.Based on this research, the report identifies:example failures to plant that can arise through the wear and tear of aging;the expected severity of such as fai...

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German translation - Good practice guideline - The safe management of small service vessels used in the offshore wind industry

2019
This is the second edition of the German translation of the publication Good practice guideline - The safe management of small service vessels used in the offshore wind industry. The English version of this title has been updated to a second edition in 2018 and can be downloaded for free h...

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