UK renewable chiefs hail Barclays’ downgrade of US utilities


Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association
Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association

Following yesterday’s call by Energy UK for ‘facts-based’ energy policy in the aftermath of the EU elections, Britain’s biggest renewable energy association has now also called for a new realism in financial and investment markets of the power of the renewable energy sector.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) noted that Barclays bank last week downgraded the entire high grade corporate bond market for the US electric sector last week in a strong indication that solar PV-generated power coupled with storage presents a long term disruptive risk to utilities.

The credit strategy team at Barclays had downgraded the entire sector to ‘underweight’. The bank considers that falling costs in solar and the increased deployment of residential energy storage to be the first truly cost-competitive substitute available for grid power for over 100 years.

Paul Barwell, Chief Executive, Solar Trade Association – which is affiliated to the REA – said: “In the USA, the penny has dropped. We are up for the challenge of ‘properly costed’ policy based on fact, not emotion.

“The simple fact is that with stable, logical policies, solar should be competing with fossil fuels by the end of this decade. When it does, subsidy-free solar will fundamentally reshape the energy system.”

And Dr. Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the UK Renewable Energy Association, added: “There’s nothing emotional about the move to renewable energy. Renewables contribute to all three aspects of the energy trilemma. We all know they reduce carbon emissions to limit climate change risks, but they also help reduce our reliance on unstable gas sources too. Energy from waste and biomass is already cheaper than fossil fuels in some circumstances, while solar and wind could be competing on price with fossil fuels by the end of this decade.

“Growing the low carbon, renewable energy economy is a business imperative. The major utilities have a big role to play in this transition, as well as independent SMEs and new market entrants like farmers and community groups.

“Experience in Germany and the USA also shows that the utilities that are adapting to renewables and embracing them are more financially secure than the laggards.”

The Renewable Energy Association represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK across power, heat, transport and renewable gas. It is the largest renewable energy trade association in the UK, with approximately 1,000 members, ranging from major multinationals to sole traders.

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