The UK is one of just a few developed nations where solar is a significant contributor to energy production, according to the latest research.
It has emerged that the government’s green energy target for 2020 is one million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from renewable sources.
That is more than half the total amount of energy that will be produced by wind, hydro and biomass, according the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The IEA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Database (GGGEAD) has already revealed that the UK is the world’s largest solar power producer.UK energy production is set to increase from 7.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2021 to 8.3GW in 2024, with more than 4GW of that coming from renewables.
In 2020, the UK exported 2.2GW of energy, representing over 10 per cent of the world.
By comparison, China exported just 0.8GW in 2020, according data compiled by the UK’s National Grid, which is part of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The UK is also the world leader in the use of hydropower.
The UK exported nearly 14.8MW of hydrophobic power to the EU in 2020.
This hydropowered output, which accounts for about 40 per cent or nearly two thirds of the total hydropOWER generation in the EU, accounts for just over half of the UK renewable energy generation in 2020 and has helped boost its carbon dioxide emissions by over 50 per cent.
However, hydropowers represent only 2 per cent and 5 per cent respectively of the nation’s total renewable energy, according Tokeby, the energy consultancy.
The National Grid’s calculations show that Britain is the only major country that has been exporting more than one GW of renewables per year in the past five years, the IEA said.
The IGA said that the figures showed that the use rate of renewables in the UK has been rising.
However there is still a long way to go before the UK can be considered a global leader in green energy.
“This is an exciting time for the UK.
We have already surpassed the 50 GW green energy requirement, but that is still far from enough to support the nation, with only half of our total energy generation coming from renewable power,” said David Jones, head of the renewables business at energy consultancy PwC.”
The UK still has a long ways to go in terms of energy security and carbon reduction, but this research shows that the British energy sector is on the right track.”
The UK has set a goal of producing enough renewable energy by 2020 to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
The government is now preparing a green energy plan to provide £1bn over five years to support investment in the sector.
The Green Investment Plan, published on Tuesday, calls for investment of £2.5bn over the next five years in renewables and new solar, along with the introduction of a national policy framework for the sector, a move that is likely to benefit solar companies.
The policy framework will help the UK become a global hub for solar and wind, and is expected to see it becoming the world champion in the field.
However it will also see it lose its status as a global centre for renewables and wind energy, because it is not an international development zone (IDZ).
It is not yet clear what the plan will look like.
The plans are being closely watched as the government considers the future of the nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, south of London, which it says has to be shut down by 2022.
The Hinkleys are the worlds biggest nuclear power station and are currently under investigation by the National Audit Office over possible breaches of UK public funds.
The company, which employs nearly 1,000 people, was given a three-year contract by the government in May 2019 to upgrade and decommission the station, which was shut down in November 2011 following a fire.
The deal was later renegotiated and the nuclear plant is expected be decommissioned in 2021.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is expected this year to consider the viability of decommissioning the plant, which could cause further delays.
The nuclear plant’s operators are also considering whether to build new reactors.