The statistics, drawn from International Energy Agency data, show that the UK obtained only 1.1% of its primary energy supply from renewables in 2001, just ahead of Belgium.
Most countries at the top of the EU league have substantial supplies of hydro power. The main exception is Denmark, whose 10.4% renewables share comes largely from wind turbines built since the late 1980s.
One encouraging sign for the UK is the upturn in renewables projects gaining planning permission. According to Science Minister Lord Sainsbury, more than 1,100MW of renewables capacity had received planning consent this year to early November.2Not all of this will be built, but the figure is way ahead of the recent growth in capacity, which totalled 192MWe over the past two years. The UK's capacity at the end of 2002 was 3,130MWe.