The share of total energy derived from renewables in the U.K. rose to 7 percent in 2014, confounding a European warning that Britain may not be on track to meet its 2020 goals on clean energy.
The average contribution of renewables to heating, transportation and power for 2013 and 2014 of 6.3 percent exceeds an interim EU target of 5.4 percent, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said in a report on its website Thursday.
The report paints a rosier picture than a European Commission study last week that listed Britain among EU members that “need to assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective in meeting their renewable energy objectives.” The U.K.’s binding target for 2020 is to get 15 percent of energy from renewables.
“We don’t accept that we have missed our renewable-energy target,” Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom told lawmakers in Parliament in London. “We believe we are on track to meet that.”
Wind, solar, biomass and other renewable power plants generated 19.1 percent of the country’s electricity in 2014, according to Thursday’s report. Renewable-generation capacity increased by 4.8 gigawatts, more than half of it solar power, to 24.6 gigawatts. Renewable sources provided 4.9 percent of the nation’s heating and 3.9 percent of transportation fuels.
The proportion of energy derived from renewables in 2013 was revised upward by 0.4 percentage points to 5.6 percent, according to the report.
The governing Conservative Party was criticized this month by opposition lawmakers, environmentalists and renewables developers for ending one subsidy program early for onshore wind projects. Developers say they are the cheapest form of large-scale renewables. Leadsom told lawmakers this was needed to free up subsidies for other technologies.
The minister said the government estimates 7.1 gigawatts of planned onshore wind capacity will not now be eligible for its renewables obligation program, equating to 250 projects and 2,500 turbines.