New figures show low-carbon economy is ‘within reach’

Low-carbon industries saw a record turnover of £122bn in 2013, with an annual growth rate of 7.6% since 2010, according to Government figures released yesterday.

“The low-carbon economy that many have talked about is now within reach,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey. “There is still a long way to go, and we will need to stick to the plans we have put in place. But this Government can be proud of the clean, green energy system it has created.”

The figures also revealed that the number of low-carbon jobs grew by 3.8% between 2010 and 2013, with Solar PV the standout sector with a growth rate of more than 20%.

In total, the low-carbon economy supported 460,000 jobs.

“The great thing about green energy investment and jobs is that they are not confined to London and the South East,” Davey added. “Clean energy projects are booming in every region and country of the UK.

“And there is much more in the pipeline. We are one of the most attractive countries in the world for green growth, with almost £37bn invested in renewable energy since 2010.”

The industry was a net contributor to the UK economy, with this sortable table showing the growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy from the various low-carbon subsectors.


Davey pointed to the Green Investment Bank, and the recent CfD auction as some of the most successful policies introduced by the current Government. However both policies have come under fire recently, the GIB for its ‘misguided policy on waste‘ and the CfD auction for ‘unfairly marginalising’ solar power.

Looking forward, the Government identified Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as the “only credible technology to decarbonise some energy intensive industries such as steel and cement”.

Echoing a Green Alliance report released on Wednesday, the Government said clusters of CCS offered a great economic opportunity to help prevent ‘carbon leakage’ and provide low carbon growth opportunities.

Carbon Trust chief operating officer Michael Rea welcomed the report findings, adding: “We must not take our foot off the pedal”.

“There is a huge untapped potential across a range of technologies from CSS to low carbon heat. We need to continue to prioritise and comprehensively back the technologies that offer the best chance of securing long term carbon savings and jobs at the lowest cost to the consumer.”

Brad Allen

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