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Call for greater drive on biofuels

A stagnation in the use of renewable biofuels in the UK is a matter for concern, according to the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

The REA has responded to the latest energy data for 2016, released by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, showing that transport biofuels accounted for 1.218 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2010 but the figure had declined to 1.010 million tonnes last year, very similar to the 2015 total (1.003 million tonnes).

James Court, head of policy and external affairs for the REA, said the data shows that the volume of renewable biofuel used in the UK had stagnated.

“There has been no significant growth in the use of biofuel since 2013, yet it is crucial if we are to meet our fast-approaching 2020 renewable energy targets,” he said.

“More renewable petrol would support the nation’s farmers and growers, and would have an immediate and positive impact on carbon emissions and urban air quality.”

The Government is currently considering enforcing the use of E10, a blend of up to 10% ethanol from renewable sources and 90% unleaded petrol. Motor vehicle manufacturers have improved engine technology so that more cars can run on E10 fuel.

The REA has called on ministers to immediately enforce E10 and compel fuel suppliers to use 10% renewable petrol in their mix.

Other data shows that electricity generated from renewable sources in the UK in 2016 fell 0.2% on a year earlier, and accounted for 24.5% of total UK electricity generation.

Lower rainfall and wind speeds resulted in lower hydro and wind generation, more than offsetting a 16% increase in total capacity compared with 2015.

Total renewables, as measured by the 2009 EU Renewables Directive, accounted for 8.9% of total energy consumption in 2016, up from 8.2% in 2015. In 2016, combined heat and power capacity stood at 5,571MWe, a decrease of 159MWe on 2015.

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