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UK to promote use of energy from renewable sources

The UK Government has pledged to do more to increase the proportion of renewable energy used to heat the nation's buildings and fuel its cars, trucks and trains as it aims to meet binding EU targets by 2020.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) made the pledge in its recently published report entitled Third progress report on the promotion and use of energy from renewable sources for the UK.

In 2014, the UK derived 7% of all energy for power generation, heat and transport from renewables, up from 5.6% in 2013, the Government said in the report.

The UK must get 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020 in order to meet its EU target.

Although the data showed that the country met an interim objective, and the power sector is on track to meet its share of the overall goal, the government acknowledged it'll need to do more to encourage the uptake of clean sources of energy for heat and transport.

Coal phase out
In a statement, DECC said: "We fundamentally need to cut carbon emissions right across the economy. In spite of the growth in renewables over the past decade, a higher proportion of UK electricity came from coal in 2014 than in 1999."

The Government department said in "an ideal world, market forces such as the carbon price would phase out the use of coal for electricity generation in the coming years, but it is not there yet".

It has announced the phasing out of all unabated coal fired power stations by 2025, and restricting its use from 2023.

"In order to maintain progress on renewable heat for the rest of the decade, we recognise that we need to do more beyond 2016," DECC added.

Elsewhere, in relation to transportation, DECC confirmed that it will shortly be consulting on plans to increase the use of biofuels in a "strategic and sustainable way" in line with the UK's 2020 targets.

It added: "Changes on the back of this consultation will not be implemented before 2016 and therefore it is difficult at this stage to prejudge the impact they may have."

The share of electricity generated by renewables surged to 17.8% in 2014 from 13.8% a year earlier, according to the data, with Britain targeting 30% by 2020.

About 3.2% of transportation fuels were renewable, up from 2.8% in 2013, and short of the 10% binding EU target for 2020.