UK Requires Robust New Renewables Policy to Protect Jobs

Government cuts to incentives and lack of a coherent long-term policy for the renewable industry have caused much stress and anxiety in the industry. Those who supply and install renewables have been put under significant strain after many schemes and incentives where cut or scrapped all together. A new issue has come to light which is that jobs in this sector have now drastically reduced by a third. Between 2014 and 2017 companies began to struggle after many of the cuts were made and it is estimated that 30% of jobs then began to disappear.

This is a devastating blow to the industry. Renewables are the future of energy generation but with the lack of government backing and support it has become less attractive and more expensive for new projects to happen. This means less demand for installers and companies, reducing the amount of jobs. The government has now been urged to find a way to stabilize our greener energy supply and ensure UK workers are not left out in the cold.

One of the schemes that saw a drastic reduction in government money was the Feed in Tariff (FiT). The feed in tariff provided customers of solar panels with a cash reward for installing them to offset the large initial purchase fee. Every month they received money based on their electricity generation. The FiT was scrapped this year and whilst those who had solar panels already installed still receive the payments, any new owners will now not receive any extra money. This has undoubtably slowed down the rate of installations and had a knock-on effect for installers. And its not just solar that’s taken a hit. Other problems have arisen in onshore and offshore wind generation.

The uptake of renewables is now at an all time low, investments have slowed, and reports suggest it hasn’t been this low since 2012. The government has been urged many times to stop sabotaging the industry by cutting funding and altering planning laws which are making some projects more difficult. One of the main issues is with onshore wind. Planning issues mean that it is no longer allowed to bid in government backed auctions. The government has made it harder for these wind farms to be built due to complaints about how they look and how they affect the wildlife. While some of these factors may be true, it is argued that not only is it the cheaper form of energy generation, it also creates many jobs that currently are being missed out on due to the government blocking their production.

Sue ferns (senior deputy secretary at prospect) said:

“Successive governments have promised us a green jobs revolution, but after an initial upsurge we have now started going backwards. This is deeply worrying for the future of the energy sector and for low-carbon jobs in the UK.”

While a spokesperson for BEIS said:

We’ve seen the number of green collar jobs soar to approximately 400,000, with clean growth at the heart of this government’s modern industrial strategy. This figure could more than quadrupled to 2m by 2030. We’ve injected £2.5bn into low-carbon innovation and “the”
deal with the offshore wind industry will see up to £40bn infrastructure investment.”