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Renewable energy in UK is up despite biofuels drop

New government figures have revealed 2012 was a strong year for renewable energy generation in the UK.

A report released at the end of March put the UK’s generated electricity from renewables last year at 11.3% overall, and 12.5% in the fourth quarter.

It is believed much of this growth is due to new generating projects coming online across all renewable sectors, with biomass input increasing by 17% largely in part to Tilbury power station’s conversion to biomass. Total UK renewable power capacity now stands at 15.5GW.

‘Renewables now generate more than 10% of our electricity on average,’ says Renewable Energy Association (REA) CEO Gaynor Hartnell. ‘The conversion of Tilbury also shows what a big difference biomass can make, especially at a time when the government is desperate to bring forward affordable, baseload, low carbon generation.’

However, there was a reduction in the consumption of liquid biofuels for transport down to 2.6% to remain a small part of UK motor fuel. The REA believes certainty is urgently needed within the policy framework to fulfil their potential for decarbonising transport.

‘These are trying times for producers of renewable transport fuels. The removal of the fuel duty rebate for used cooking oil has significantly reduced biodiesel consumption, but the 5% cap on first generation biofuels proposed by the EU poses a much greater problem,’ Hartnell adds.

‘We are pleased to hear that Ministers are prepared to be flexible on the level of the cap. The REA, alongside representatives of other land-based industries, will continue to call for greater use of genuinely sustainable biofuels.’