Britain’s Net Zero commitments are being hampered by government hesitancy & ambiguity around the nation’s otherwise surging green economy, a leading trade association claims today.
Review23 is the annual progress check on the UK’s transition towards low carbon energy and the green economy, as seen by 500-plus member companies of the REA, the Renewable Energy & Clean Technology Association.
While generation of low-carbon power through wind, solar and geothermal is prospering, government silence or incoherence leave question marks, the report argues, over realsing the potential of green heat, transport & bioenergy. The effect is to challenge Britain’s ability to meet its Net Zero deadlines in the short, medium & long terms.
Political uncertainty and rolling back on green policies mean, according to the REA, that renewable developers are hurting, and international investment risks going elsewhere.
Renewables accounted last year for 14% of all UK energy, covering heat and transport, in addition to electricity, the study reports. 8.36% of total heat consumption and 5.32% of transport energy consumption came from renewables in 2022.
Wind energy accounted for more than half of all renewable electricity last year, the REA notes, quoting official DUKES figures.
Just under 141,000 people work in the green energy economy. The REA predicts 210,00 – or half as many again – by 2035. With that workforce growth, would come a doubling of the green sector’s value to the economy, up from £23bn today.
Totting up regional projections, clean and renewable technologies radically lift the nation’s wealth by 2035. But that £46bn target won’t be reached without the right regulatory & policy conditions, says the trade group.
Green technologies hold out promise as a means to level up Britain’s left-behind regions, the report observes, remedying the south-east’s continuing dominance.
The REA’s modelling analyses how consistent government support – more use of supply chain plans, for example – could see future jobs and investment distributed more equally across the UK. The North East could see a 111% increase in market value by 2035, the study surmises, and the North is projected to support around 30,600 jobs with 12,700 more jobs located in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Harnessing the potential of all regions of the UK and accelerating deployment of all clean technologies is essential, the REA repeats.
“Even though it has been proven countless times that the energy transition is as much an economic opportunity as an environmental imperative, our sector still finds itself having to overcome naysayers time and time again, observed Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, the REA’s chief executive, pictured.
“The urgent need to unlock policy and investment blockages is clear throughout REview23”, she added.
“While we continued to see the dynamic resilience of the renewable energy and clean technology sector through the energy crisis, as well as months of political and policy uncertainty, we are not immune to real world economic forces.
“Indeed”, Skorupska remarked, “at times it can feel as if we are wading through treacle when repeatedly being challenged to make the economic case for Net Zero”.
Read REview23 here.