UK renewable energy generation surged by 20% in 2014
Renewable energy generation leaped up 20% in the UK over the past year, but the industry has warned that more government leadership will be needed to maintain growth.
The Renewable Energy Association's (REA) annual REview, found that electricity generation was up by a fifth to 64,404GWh in 2014, while clean energy investment and jobs in the sector also grew quickly.
Despite the promising figures, the REA warned against complacency (much like the recycling industry on Wednesday), pointing out that UK renewable generation must continue to grow at a 16% rate to meet 2020 EU targets.
REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: "We are delighted that renewable energy sources are becoming an ever greater contributor to the UK's energy mix. Today's figures show excellent progress in a number of sectors, both in terms of generation and installed capacity.
"But we cannot be complacent. Our analysis shows that where regulatory and financial support for renewable energy has been stable and sufficient, there has been considerable success, but where there has not, technologies have either stalled or gone backwards.
"In light of the growth rate for renewables needed for the UK to meet its 2020 targets, it is vital that the new government demonstrates the necessary leadership and ambition to enable our industry to thrive."
John Sharp, the director of consultancy Innovas, which helped write the REview, highlighted some of the recent Government-funded success stories.
He said: "The economic growth of renewable energy is highest in those sectors which received the greatest government support - namely biomass, wind and solar technologies. The forecast growth to 2020 with the current incentive and support schemes for the renewable energy sector as a whole is about 48% adding a further £7bn to the market value with a total of £22bn forecast.
"This would equate to about a further 27,000 more people employed by 2020. This is far in excess of what is forecast for the economy as a whole. However this level of growth could be jeopardised if changes to the support are made which creates instability in the market."
A recent report from analyst firm EY backed up the REA's concerns, claiming that the UK is losing its appeal as a destination for renewables investment thanks to a continuing lack of clarity round the future of the UK's green energy mix.