UK ranked 24th out of 28 EU member states for renewable energy

'Renewable energy is now cost-competitive and sometimes cheaper than fossil fuels'

, where more than half the energy used is from renewable sources Getty

The UK has one of the lowest rates of renewable energy consumption in Europe, according to new figures.

The European Union has a target of 20 per cent of energy use coming from carbon-free sources by 2020.

However there is a vast difference between the best and worst performing states.

Sweden has the highest rate with more than 54 per cent of its energy coming from renewable sources in 2015, following by Finland on just under 40 per cent and Latvia on 39 per cent.

The UK’s figure is just 8.2 per cent, putting it in 24th place out of 28 and not far ahead of last-placed Luxemburg on 5 per cent.

However the European Commission said the EU as a whole remained “well on track” to meet it 2020 target, with an average figure of 16.4 per cent in 2015.

Miguel Arias Cañete, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner, said: “Despite the current geopolitical uncertainties, Europe is forging ahead with the clean energy transition.

'Green gas' plants that use grass proposed for fracking sites

“There is no alternative. And the facts speak for themselves: renewable energy is now cost-competitive and sometimes cheaper than fossil fuels, employs over one million people in Europe, attracts more investments than many other sectors, and has reduced our fossil fuels imports bill by €16bn (£13.7bn).

“Now, efforts will need to be sustained as Europe works with its partners to lead the global race to a more sustainable, competitive economy.”

The figures include electricity consumption, but also the energy used for heating and transport.

More than 20 per cent of the UK's electricity now comes from renewable energy, but the country has struggled to make an impact on the greenhouse gases produced by cars and other vehicles and also to heat people's homes.