7.14.1 Energy use is a major contributor to climate change, a fact that is driving the development of renewable energy schemes. A national target has been set requiring 15% of all electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. This target is equivalent to a seven-fold increase in UK renewable energy consumption from 2008 levels (Department of Energy and Climate Change)
7.14.2 We remain dependent on traditional fossil fuels for most of our electricity generation; only 5.5% of electricity is generated from renewables. This is being addressed. In December 2010 the Energy Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords. The Bill aims to: tackle barriers to investment in energy efficiency; enhance energy security and enable investment in low carbon energy supplies.
7.14.3 Between 2005 and 2009 the number of electricity consumers connected to the national grid in the South West increased by 4.1%. The number of commercial and industrial consumers rose by 1.6%. This increase means that in 2009 there were over 2.4 million domestic electricity meter points and 246.4 thousand industrial and commercial meter points in the South West (Department of Energy and Climate Change).
7.14.4 In 2009, the South West had the third highest level of domestic electricity consumption in Great Britain at 4,448 kWh of electricity per consumer, over 7.1% higher than the national average of 4,152 kWh. The regions with the highest average consumption were the South East and the East, with 4,477 kWh and 4,459 kWh per consumer, respectively.
7.14.5 Within the region, average domestic electricity consumption varied significantly. Consumption was highest in the Isles of Scilly (6,876 kWh) followed by Kennet in Wiltshire (5,681 kWh) and lowest in Plymouth (3,762 kWh).
Figure 7.14.1 Electricity consumption at regional and local authority level, 2009 (kWh)