Third of businesses think UK is behind on renewables

The majority of businesses believe the Government needs to do more to drive renewables growth in the UK, warning it risks slipping further behind other EU countries unless action is taken, an edie poll has discovered.

This follows last week’s Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in London, which saw energy ministers from 23 leading economies gather in the capital to discuss clean energy commitments and forge new agreements.

Prime minister David Cameron said he “passionately” believed that rapid growth of renewables is “vital” to the UK’s future and recognised it as fastest growing energy source globally, however businesses are not convinced at the progress the UK is making.

Chief executive of the Climate Group, a global coalition of governments, brands and public figures, Mark Kenber slammed the PM’s speech, saying it failed to support the green agenda by suggesting the cost of renewables is currently too high.

Mr Kenber expressed disappointment that the PM’s speech failed to send a “clear signal” to investors that the UK is open for green business, arguing instead it reiterated the “false dichotomy between “non-affordable” renewables and “affordable” fossil fuels”.

He said: “This is more than a missed opportunity. It is not only a failure of leadership. It is nothing short of neglect of Britain’s economy and future.

“Amidst this gloomy economic outlook, one sector of the economy is indeed growing at a startling rate of 4% per year. It now contributes 7% of the UK’s GDP and employs 900,000 people. It is the Green economy sector. Our best hope for sustainable, sustained growth, more jobs and higher energy security – that doesn’t harm the environment and addresses climate change.”

Backing up this view an edie poll of more than 300 respondents which asked: “Does the Government need greater ambition to drive renewables growth?”, revealed that 36% said they believed the UK is rapidly falling behind other European countries.

Meanwhile, a further 32% said they felt the UK needs to work harder to meet its renewables targets.

Speaking at the launch of a report into the job potential of the renewable industry last week, energy minister Greg Barker agreed, saying that the Government needs to raise the level of UK ambition if it is to succeed in driving renewables growth.

The ‘Made in Britain’ report by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Innovas revealed that boosting the UK’s £12.5bn renewables industry could generate a cumulative value of £60bn by 2020.

Carys Matthews

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