Companies have announced plans to invest almost 2.5 billion pounds in renewable energy projects in the UK this year, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said on Thursday.

The plans could potentially create almost 12,000 jobs, DECC said, and compare with estimates from various consultants of around 2.1 billion pounds for the previous year.

Renewable energy is not just helping us increase our energy security and reduce our emissions. It is supporting jobs and growth across the country, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said.

I do not want the UK to be left behind by turning our back on the green economy, he said, adding that Britain's renewable targets were less demanding than other EU member states.

DECC said that its report to the European Commission on renewable energy progress showed that the UK had achieved a 27 percent increase in renewable energy consumption, rising to from 54 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2010 from 42.6 TWh in 2008 and reaching 3.3 percent of total energy consumed.

The UK increased wind generation by 46 percent to 10.2 TWh in 2010 from 7 TWh in 2008, including achieving 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore and onshore wind capacity, it said.

The use of biofuels in transport rose to 3.33 percent of total road transport fuel supply in 2010 from 1 percent of in 2007/8, DECC said.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Jason Neely)