September 24, 2021 | ICLG: Renewable Energy 2022 | 1 minute read

United Kingdom

1. Overview of the Renewable Energy Sector

1.1 What is the basis of renewable energy policy and regulation in this jurisdiction and is there a statutory definition of ‘renewable energy’, ‘clean energy’ or equivalent terminology?

The Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewables Sources Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/243) applies the definition set out in Directive 2009/28/EC (Renewable Energy Directive) on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. This defines “energy from renewable sources” as “energy from renewable non-fossil sources, namely wind, solar, aerothermal, geothermal, hydrothermal and ocean energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogases”, each of which is then defined separately.

This legislative framework required the government to ensure that renewable energy comprised 15% of the UK’s total energy mix by 2020. The Renewable Energy Directive has now been superseded by Directive (EU) 2018/2001 (RED2). The deadline for transposition of RED2 into national law was after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and, to date, RED2 has not been transposed into UK law. Therefore, ongoing policy and regulation of renewable energy is instead derived from retained EU law and UK statute, notably the UK’s binding commitments to:

  • cut greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels in the Carbon Budget Order 2021 (SI 2021/750); and
  • achieve a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels (the “net zero” target) in the Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order (SI 2019/1056).

There are various other policies, incentives, requirements and regulations that are detailed throughout this chapter below.

Click here to read Bracewell’s entire UK chapter in the International Comparative Legal Guide or download the file below.