UK could lose place as global leader in renewables, sector warns

The UK could lose its place as a global leader in green power, the renewable energy sector has warned.

Renewable UK and Energy UK, two of the country’s energy trade bodies, have called on the Government to make the country more attractive for investors looking to build more wind and solar farms.

“The renewable energy sector is facing a perfect storm this year, with inflation squeezing out already tight profit margins, and fierce international competition for investment, skills and supply chains,” said Renewable UK policy boss Ana Musa.

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“The US and the EU are in a race to offer incentives to clean energy investors, and the UK cannot take its leadership position for granted.”

The UK risks falling behind in the race to become a global renewable energy leader without rule changes, two of the country's energy trade bodies have warned.The UK risks falling behind in the race to become a global renewable energy leader without rule changes, two of the country's energy trade bodies have warned.
The UK risks falling behind in the race to become a global renewable energy leader without rule changes, two of the country's energy trade bodies have warned.

Ahead of the Chancellor’s budget on 15 March, Renewable UK said that the Government must put in place fiscal incentives for developers and companies to compete globally.

It said without changes there is a risk companies will not bid as much as the Government wants for the summer’s next auction of solar and wind farms.

Energy UK, which also represents non-Renewable energy companies, said that the UK could miss out on £62 billion in investment before the end of the decade.

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Energy UK’s chief executive Emma Pinchbeck said: “The UK is in increasing danger of undermining its own ambitions and failing to deliver on its commitments.

“In many ways, the UK has led the way in the transition to clean energy – witness our world leading offshore wind industry – but we risk squandering this position and driving the investment that we need elsewhere.”

It comes following a report by the Onward think tank which warned that the UK only have five years to secure investment in green industries or risk missing out forever.

The report was backed by Simon Clarke, the former levelling up secretary who successfully led a backbench rebellion against Rishi Sunak to end the ban on new offshore wind farms.

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Mr Clarke is also among several senior Conservative backbenchers, business chiefs and economists that have urged the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to abandon the policy of raising corporation tax from 19 to 25 per cent.

A letter signed by him and colleagues called on Mr Sunak to “follow a growth agenda”.

Treasury sources have previously told The Yorkshire Post that the Chancellor’s budget will not include an extension of the “super deduction” tax break for businesses, which groups such as the CBI have called for to drive growth.

New research has also suggested that UK retailers have slashed almost 15,000 jobs since the start of 2023 after several collapses and restructurings on the British high street.

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Experts have warned that “the brutal start of the year” could continue as cost pressures and weaker customer spending power take their toll.

The Centre for Retail Research said that 14,874 jobs have been cut or announced since the start of the year.

The total reflects cuts by large multiple retailers, which have 10 or more UK stores. It means overall industry job losses could be even higher once under-pressure independents are included.

The research showed 3,185 job cuts through large retailers undergoing some form of insolvency proceedings.

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This included the likes of Paperchase and M&Co, which both tumbled into administration in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, a further 11,689 jobs are being shed by large retailers through “rationalisation” as part of cost-cutting programmes.

These cuts include reductions by Tesco, Asda, Wilko and New Look since the start of last month.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, at the Centre for Retail Research, said: “The process of rationalisation will continue at pace as retailers continue to reduce their cost base.

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“We are unlikely to see any respite in job losses in 2023 after a brutal start to the year.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government has consistently attracted investment in renewables.

“Since 2010, the UK has seen more than a 500% increase in the amount of renewable electricity capacity connected to the grid while through Contracts for Difference we have awarded contracts totalling almost 27GW of new low carbon capacity to date.

“We are consulting on reforms as part of the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements, including changes to the wholesale electricity market that would stop volatile gas prices setting the price of electricity produced by much cheaper renewables – cutting the cost of electricity for consumers in the long term and providing certainty for investors.”

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