New report finds huge variations in renewable energy progress across England

Renewable power now provides 19 percent of England’s electricity – but take up varies hugely across the country – according to a new publication “Renewable energy: A local progress report for England”. The report, by renewable experts Regen SW, is the most detailed analysis to date of the progress of renewable energy in England.

England generates 54,962 GWh of renewable energy, enough to power 14.5 million homes or 62 percent of all households, from 736,998 renewable energy projects. However, we are still a long way off our targets, with slow progress in renewable heat meaning that just five per cent of total energy consumption in England is met by renewables. Recent government policy changes have led to slower progress this year and a poor outlook for the year ahead.

Local factors such as the amount of sun and wind, electricity grid infrastructure and public support play a key role in renewable energy deployment. East Riding of Yorkshire leads on the amount of onshore wind due to favourable resource and planning. Peterborough and Mid-Devon have over 10 percent of houses with solar PV installations as a result of social housing programmes, an engaged population, active community energy groups and trusted local installers. London is bottom of the table with just 3 percent of its electricity from renewables.

Merlin Hyman, Chief Executive of Regen SW said: “This decade has seen remarkable growth in renewable energy in England. This is a public policy success story – a combination of public and private investment has led to innovation and technological progress, new industries and rapidly falling costs.”

“The recent Government policy changes are taking the UK out of the global fast lane of renewables and the impact can already be seen on the ground. However, the global shift to a smart, decentralised and renewable energy system is now unstoppable and the leading areas of England are showing how this shift can be turned into an opportunity for businesses and local communities.”

“The uneven take up of renewables across England demonstrates that a transformation in our energy system is not just about decisions in Whitehall and corporate boardrooms. Renewable energy projects depend on an enabling local environment and the engagement of local communities.”