The REA welcomes a report launched yesterday by Dods Renewable Energy Dialogue, which reveals that 63% of surveyed MPs ‘agreed with the idea that renewable energy benefited the UK economy’ while 69% ‘agreed that renewables would create significant employment opportunities’. The report’s main recommendation is that policy makers ‘work to build a political consensus… to give investors long-term confidence, whatever the outcome of the 2015 election.’
REA Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska said:
“The politics of coalition government, of Europe and of the looming general election have made it difficult for investors to understand exactly where the Government stands on renewables. Today we see that 63% of MPs clearly understand the economic benefits of expanding our home-grown renewables industry. We urge David Cameron to take heed and back national 2030 renewables targets in the European Council meeting later this month.”
In 2012, the REA estimated that the UK renewables industry was worth £12.5 billion to the economy, supporting 110,000 jobs across the value chain, with scope for 400,000 by 2020 as the industry expands to achieve the UK’s 2020 target of 15% energy from renewables. The REA will publish updated figures on deployment, employment and investment next month.
The Dods report published yesterday also acknowledges the broad public support for renewables revealed by DECC’s Public Attitudes Tracking Survey, which has held firm at an average 78% over the eight editions of the Survey to date. With an average level of opposition of 4%, this means there are 18 supporters of renewables in the UK for every one opponent.
Dr Nina Skorupska added:
“Inside and outside Westminster, support for renewables holds firm. Yesterday’s report suggests that the limited yet vocal pushback against renewables is strongest on the Tory backbenches. So we need to do two things. Firstly, in order to unlock investment, David Cameron must rise above short-term party politics and show leadership by backing national 2030 renewables targets. This will accelerate cost reductions, emissions savings and job creation.”
“Secondly, we in industry need to engage more effectively with those who remain unconvinced of the benefits of renewables. We need to correct some common misunderstandings, but also raise our game to ensure that the benefits of renewables are realised within communities where developments take place. The Government’s Community Energy Strategy – and its objective to increase community ownership of renewables projects – is a vital step forward along this path.”