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Renewables provide 7.1% of energy consumption

Energy consumption from renewable sources in the UK hit a record high in 2014, although waste is no longer the main provider, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The data covers the period from 1990 to 2014, and shows that energy consumption from such sources was 14.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2014, contributing 7.1% of total UK consumption.

This was 10.7 times greater than in 1990, when only 1.3Mtoe of energy was consumed from renewable and waste sources. Between 2013 and 2014, consumption increased from 12.5Mtoe to 14.4Mtoe, attributed primarily due to an increase in power stations’ combustion of wood.

In 2014, solid biomass provided 40.3% with 25.6% coming from waste, 25.0% from primary electricity generation (hydroelectric power, wind, wave and tidal, solar photovoltaic and geothermal aquifers) with liquid biofuels on 8.9%. In 2004, waste had accounted for 53.8% of the total.

Energy consumption: by source

energy consumption by source 2014

energy consumption by source 2014

  • Renewable primary electricity generation includes hydroelectric power, wind, wave and tidal, solar photovoltaic and geothermal aquifers
  • Waste includes landfill gas, sewage gas, municipal solid waste, poultry litter and biogas from anaerobic digestion used in autogeneration
  • Solid biomass includes wood, straw, charcoal and biomass
  • Liquid biofuels includes liquid biofuels used in power stations, bioethanol and biodiesel used in transport

Between 2013 and 2014, energy consumption from solid biomass increased by 22.3%, from 4.8Mtoe to 5.8Mtoe. Since 2010, there has been a sharp increase in energy consumption from renewable primary electricity generation, from 1.2Mtoe to 3.6Mtoe, partly due to an increase in energy generation from wind sources.

Since 1997, Government spend on environmental protection expenditure (EPE) has increased from £4.1bn to £15.4bn in 2014, and currently accounts for 1.9% of total government spending. Waste management activities accounted for just over three-quarters (78.6%) of Government EPE spend in 2014.

EPE includes all activities and actions which have as their main purpose the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution or any other degradation of the environment. Examples include sewerage, waste management and treatment of exhaust gases.

EPE as a percentage of gross domestic product was equivalent to 0.8% in 2014.

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