Last year was a stellar year for renewable generation capacity in the UK, putting the country on track to meet its target for renewable-produced electricity. However, slow progress on heat and transportation means the UK now risks missing overall renewable energy targets, Greentech Media reports.

2017 saw highest annual increase share of electricity generations

Energy market research firm, Cornwall Insight, revealed that renewable energy’s share of electricity generation rose 4.8% to 29.3% in 2017, up from 24.5% in the previous year. This represented the second highest annual increase on record, after a 5.5% increase in 2015.

Last year’s boost now puts the UK incredibly close to its 30% target for renewable-based electricity generation by 2020.

Risk of not meeting 2020 renewable energy target

While this is positive news, Cornwall Insight’s Tim Dixon, warned: “Unless greater progress is made for renewable heat and transport, where the UK is underperforming, then there remains a significant risk of us not meeting our 2020 renewable energy target, as well as our fourth and fifth carbon budgets.”

Following the 2008 Climate Change Act, which commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 by at least 80% when compared to the levels in 1990, the UK established carbon budgets – five-year caps on greenhouse gas emissions.

But the government acknowledges that it has a lot more work to do in this area. In a statement, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “In order to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets (covering the periods 2023 to 2027 and 2028 to 2032), we will need to drive a significant acceleration in the pace of decarbonisation.”

The Department for BEIS plans to spend up to 33% of a total £2.5bn investment on transport and its Clean Growth Strategy outlined plans to roll-out low-carbon heating by 2040, allocating £250m to “smart systems”.

Decarbonisation plans not affected by Brexit

A government spokesman told the publication that decarbonisation plans would not be affected by Brexit, explaining: “We are seeking broad energy cooperation with the EU as part of our commitment to deliver cost-effective, clean and secure energy supplies.

“Leaving the EU will not affect the UK’s commitment to domestic and international efforts to tackle climate change, including the Paris Agreement.”

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