UK slips out of renewables “Top 10” for the first time

The UK has dropped out of the top 10 most attractive countries for renewable energy investment, according to a new report.

EY’s Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) sees the UK drop from the eighth best market to 11th, as recent changes in Government policy take hold.

According to the report, recent Whitehall announcements have removed support for renewable energy projects in the UK and left “investors and consumers baffled”. 

The removal of Climate Change Levy exemptions, as revealed by George Osborne in the Summer Budget, could see onshore wind operators lose at least 6% of revenue. 

And the current “lack of clarity” around may undermine investment in other areas, such as nuclear energy and fracking.

“The renewables sector will be wishing the UK Government had taken an extended holiday between June and August,” the report states. 

“A raft of policy revisions that are likely to dramatically slow deployment across a range of technologies have been rushed through (apparently on the grounds of affordability), while a pro-nuclear, offshore wind and shale gas stance has left investors wondering what the Government is actually trying to achieve and what evidence, if any, is being used to inform current policy.” 

The US replaced China at the top of the list after losing the position a year ago.

“The question is, should the UK renewables sector continue to fight policy tinkering by a Government with unclear motivations, or is this an opportunity for it to throw off the shackles of policy dependency and establish itself at the forefront of unsubsidized renewables in Europe?” the report adds. “The latter won’t be easy, but it may well be worth taking the risk.” 

In response, Green Party energy spokesperson Andrew Cooper, said: “The UK should be a world leader in renewable technology. Investing in clean energy would create a million skilled jobs and transform the UK into an economy fit for the 21st century. But instead, this government has slashed support for onshore wind, solar power and community energy projects, putting the future of the UK’s renewable energy industry in serious jeopardy.

“We can tackle climate change and build a better, more sustainable future but only if the government ends its destruction of the clean energy industry and takes a serious long-term approach to the UK’s energy needs.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues