As Premiership players begin their break over the five weeks of Qatar’s controversial World Cup, away from football Britain already languishes in Europe’s “relegation zone” in deploying renewable generation, a trade body’s new study claims.

The REA – the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology -, this morning launches its Energy Transition Readiness Index 2022.

The index notes how what it calls the UK’s ‘ambitious long-term goals’ for low-carbon power are being betrayed by short-term political priorities which shoot policy delivery in the foot.

Inflexibility and lack of clarity in setting the rules for Britain’s urgently needed transition to cleaner generation, are combining with delays in grid access and unfavourable flexibility markets.  The result is needless, increased uncertainty for energy investors, the ETRI concludes.

It calls for the 13 countries, including Britain and Ireland, to

  •   Urgently put meaningful figures to future flexibility needs
  •   Prioritise and speed up reforms in flexibility markets
  •   Tear down lingering barriers to investment

Boosting demand-side flex resources could result in savings of up to Euros 300 for every customer in Europe by 2030, a study found in September.  As much as 37.5 million tonnes in greenhouse emissions could accompany the cash.  Consultants DNV carried out the research, endorsed by the continent’s transmission operators in ENTSO-E, Microsoft and others.

A similar recent study by Imperial College & the Carbon Trust put benefits to UK customers at £600 per customer by mid-century.

But the benefits to businesses & homeowners – including Britain’s –  are compromised by politicians talking big and delivering small, according to the ETRI.

The UK’s ‘ambitious long-term goals’ mask a reality where ‘current policy priorities appear more focused on the short-term’ leading to ‘increased investment uncertainty”, it says.

Post-Brexit Britain is among the worst European performers out of thirteen countries assessed, in delivering readiness for the epochal shift to low-carbon generation & consumption, the ETRI concludes.

NIMTO you, NIMTO the network

Adding to stakeholders’ doubts about governance and regulation en route to a clean energy transition,  grid access delays, and unfavourable flexibility markets all are highlighted as barriers which will hold back the deployment of renewable energy in the UK.

Making things worse, says the REA, the post-Covid, post-Ukraine crisis in energy supply has punctured public and political confidence in estimating costs associated with the energy transition.

Slowing Britain’s adoption of green energy is no solution, the REA is clear. Pennywise deferral now of network upgrades and tolerating politicians’ NIMTO – – “not in my term of office” – retreat from huge structural change will only increase the transition’s cost in the long run.

For the REA, its CEO Dr Nina Skorupska CBE – pictured – declared; “As ETRI 2022 makes clear, despite the warm rhetoric from the government, the UK is lagging behind many other countries in preparing for the energy transition.

“If this was a league table, the UK would be in the relegation zone.

“We now need to see significant action from the Government to remove the barriers facing our industry: proper long-term planning; prioritising and accelerating market reforms; and urgently addressing current investment barriers – all are desperately needed to help put the UK on the right path”, Dr Skorupska went on.

“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead of us, but the cost of the Government moving too slowly on preparing for the energy transition is simply too great. Our country is in the midst of a severe energy crisis, but the Government will store up even greater problems for the future if they don’t act now.”

For lawyers Eversheds Sutherland, partner Stephen Hill declared: “Everybody agrees on the need for change. But this report highlights how urgent that has now become for the UK and certain other European jurisdictions.

“A transition to clean energy is in everyone’s interests; it will help hit vital environmental targets, save consumers money, and provide the energy security so vitally needed at present.

“What is now needed is for governments to dismantle the unnecessary barriers for investors and to market growth. The alternatives are too costly – at all levels – to contemplate.”


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