The Sunak government’s mixed messaging around energy policy risks Britain being surpassed this decade as a destination for renewables investment, a report published by Energy UK claims.

“Of the world’s eight biggest economies, the UK is forecast to have the slowest growth in low-carbon electricity generation between now and 2030”, says the paper, the Clean Growth Gap.

Forecasters Oxford Economics were commissioned by Energy UK to analyse drivers, trends & blockages in green power deployment across the world’s leading nations.

This decade, the consultant predicts, Britain’s growth in green electricity output will average only 2.9% every year, slower than France on 3.1%, and seven other top ecoonomies.

In 2022, the study reveals, installed renewables generation capacity per head of UK population stood at only 0.9kW, lower than the EU-27 average of 1.4kW per head, and exactly half the green power capacity of both Germany and France.  Even China, with its population of 1.425 billion more than twenty-one times the UK’s 67.2 million, logged 0.8kW in green potential per head.

Britain’s government has no concerted answer, the report notes, to renewables growth programmes such as the US’s Inflation Reduction Act, with its $216 billion in investment sweeteners this decade, or to the EU’s 50-by-50 equivalent.

This February, the EU Commission withdrew for two years state aid curbs on member states wishing to foster technologies in green energy, the report notes.

“Given the current incentive schemes around the world, which are often much more generous than the UK, there is a risk that investment in green energy infrastructure will be pulled from the UK to countries with more attractive regimes”, the Clean Growth Gap notes.

Oxford Economics & Energy UK released their report the day that Rishi Sunak announced the granting of “hundreds” of new licences to pump oil and gas out dwindling North Sea reserves.

Around 247,000 full-time equivalent jobs exist today in Britain’s green energy already, says the report, rocketing by 16.4% in only twelve months to 2021.

“However, unless the government ensures investment in the UK is attractive, the 480,000 jobs that a Net Zero transition is estimated to support by 2030 will not materialise”, says the EnergyUK report.

Conservative MP and former energy minister Chris Skidmore advocated in his January Net Zero review of energy policy creating a joint financing strategy, yoking Whitehall and UK business in financial incentives to bolster green investment.

Yesterday Skidmore lambasted Sunak’s jag towards a fiercer drive to drill for oil. “ This is the wrong decision at precisely the wrong time, when the rest of the world is experiencing record heatwaves”, Skidmore wrote .

“It is on the wrong side of a future economy that will be founded on renewable and clean industries, not fossil fuels”, the forrmer energy minister went on.

“It is on the wrong side of modern voters who will vote with their feet at the next General Election for parties that protect – not threaten – our environment.”

Energy UK chief executive Emma Pinchbeck notes in the Clean Growth Gap that: “At the heart of a successful energy transition is the need to attract investment.

“The scale of the transition and increasingly constrained public finances mean the vast majority of this investment must come from the private sector,” Pinchbeck writes.


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