The United Kingdom’s renewable energy market is expected to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has forecasted the industry’s growth to reach over 9% in 2021 due to supportive government policies and adequate capacity to fulfill the rising demands of renewable energy sources, eventually reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions.
Over the past years, renewable technology companies’ attempt to compete as alternate fuels through declining sales costs has been the key driver for the market.
The UK government has announced that renewable electricity successfully outpaced fossil fuel generation for the first time in 2020 and can maintain its position in the upcoming years.
In February 2021, the UK government has auctioned a total of six projects representing 8 gigawatts (GW) of capacity that would provide enough electricity to power approximately seven million homes.
Wind energy is also an attractive alternative for renewable electricity. The UK is one of the leading countries for offshore wind energy with 9.97 GW installed capacity in 2019, aiming to reach 20 GW by 2030.
Accompanied by a high average wind speed, the UK has an ideal condition for both onshore and offshore wind farms. One of the most significant projects is the Oersted’s Hornsea One, 120 kilometers off the Yorkshire coast in England, as the world’s largest offshore wind farm with a 1.2 GW capacity.
The onshore wind farms offer the cheapest choice for new electricity in the UK, meeting the needs of more than 7.25 million homes annually and producing over 9% of the UK’s power needs.
The onshore wind farms can facilitate jobs and local economic growth aside from powering the nation.
The offshore wind farms have been one of the most attractive investment destinations between 2016 to 2021.
It provides cheaper alternatives for gas and nuclear power. It will generate a new generation of highly productive workforce that would become the backbone of a clean and affordable energy system.
Bioenergy projects are the second-largest contributors of renewable energy to the UK, powered through the former UK’s largest coal-fired power station shifted to biomass, and waste-fuelled plant, Drax Power Station Yorkshire produce a total of 1.9 GW capacity.
As for fossil fuels, the nation’s oil production was down 5.5% in 2020 alongside the high-fall of global oil prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, while natural gas production increased by 3.6%.
The UK’s renewable journey started with the Parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency, further releasing legislation to commit to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Under the Renewable Energy Directive, the UK has surpassed its forecast in the first quarter of 2020 with 47% of renewables’ share of electricity generation in the region, excluding biomass and nuclear-fueled power plants.
In January 2021, the government stated its ten-point plan in the Green Industrial Revolution, adding expansion approaches such as doubling subsidies for solar and onshore wind farms’ developments.
The government also allows solar and onshore wind projects to participate in the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction, formerly excluded from the auction as the nation’s competitive strategy.
The UK is showing confidence in the shifting towards a fully-fueled renewables era, taking bold steps in innovation and firm developments to become the leading nation of renewable energy suppliers in a world that is still currently dominated by fossil fuels.
However, with the UK’s influence in the global market, the worldwide green revolution would not be too far away in the future. When that happens, the UK will undoubtedly be ready in fulfilling the demands.