But mixed political messaging puts jobs, investments and energy security at risk
Recent political messaging risks undermining the new jobs and investments the renewable energy industry stands poised to deliver, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) warns today. The REA’s latest twice-yearly members’ business confidence survey reveals that businesses are more confident now that they will boost turnover, new business and employment over the next six to twelve months than at Q1 2013. This is a result of greater clarity in the Government’s Electricity Market Reform programme, relative stability in key support schemes and the scale of the market opportunity of the 2020 renewable energy target.
However, this data pre-dates the Prime Minister’s pledge to “roll back green regulations”. Notwithstanding reassurances from Government that renewables policies are not at risk, recent moves putting energy policy at the centre of party political electioneering are increasing the perceived risk for investors. This increases the cost of capital, and threatens the jobs and investments we need to ensure near-term energy security and deliver long-term climate change objectives.
REA Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska said:
“The renewables industry is poised to significantly grow its contribution to employment and economic recovery. The growing confidence in the power sector and the Electricity Market Reform programme is good news as the UK urgently needs new wind, solar and biomass to keep capacity margins healthy. New nuclear, CCS and shale gas will not be on-stream until the 2020s at the earliest.
“However, these green shoots are still fragile, and the UK’s chances of meeting the binding 2020 targets appear remote. Although Government has confirmed that funding for renewables is not at risk in the ‘green taxes’ review, consistent messaging on Number 10’s commitment to the green agenda is absolutely vital.
“The Government currently opposes a 2030 EU renewables target and is proposing to repeal the Planning & Energy Act. Reversing those stated positions would inject a huge boost into the sector and unlock much needed new jobs and investments.”
The second edition of the Renewables Industry Confidence Survey was completed by 95 members of the Renewable Energy Association and the affiliated Solar Trade Association – up from 68 responses in March. Click here to download the report .
Overall confidence, as measured by the REA’s Renewables Industry Confidence Index, stands at 48.5% – an increase of 1.3% compared with six months ago. The improvement, while welcome, falls short of the 75% score which would indicate a properly healthy and optimistic renewables industry.
For more information on: REA