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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?

Events and training

Affordable and replicable low carbon housing in Wales

9-12-2019
<p>Ester Coma Bassas and Manos Perisoglou from the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University will talk about research that is being carried out to plan, design and demonstrate an energy systems based approach combining affordable and replicable energy demand, energy storage and renewa...

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Energy Policy Debate: UK pathways to decarbonising heat

10-12-2019
In order to meet the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050, every sector of the economy must be decarbonised. We have made strong progress in decarbonising power generation, thanks to improvements in efficiency, switching from coal to natural gas, and an increase in the share of renewabl...

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Middle East Sustainability Forum

10-12-2019
This is part of Middle East HSE and Sustainability Week – for the HSE Forum please click here.

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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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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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