The annual league table for those investing in renewable energy has shown a marked change, particularly for the UK. The table, produced by Ernst & Young, reveals that the UK is slipping down the rankings and now lies 13th when we used to be near the top.
There is no doubt that this change has been brought about by a Government that is a lot more hostile to renewable technology than in recent years. Gone are the attractive subsidies for wind and solar and a location that was once considered a sure bet has become uncertain and volatile when it comes to investment. In short, investment companies are not going to put their cash into renewable technology in the UK until they are sure of some degree of success.
Leading what Ernst Young calls the Attractiveness Index are USA and China with the UK lagging some 16 points behind. The company, like others, suggest a rather damning cause for the slump in ranking:
“The UK Government’s noncommittal, if not antagonistic, approach to energy policy continues to go against the grain of almost universal global support for renewables. Not only stalling project development and investment inflows, this is arguably jeopardizing UK energy security.”
In January of this year, the Government slashed Feed in Tariff payments for renewable energies such as solar and wind. They have also been involved in trying to limit the construction of onshore wind and are generally making it much more difficult for renewable projects to get off the ground. Renewable energy insiders have long been complaining that the Government’s muddled approach to the industry has caused severe problems, setting back projects across the UK.
The other suggestion from the report is that investors are now more likely to be looking towards emerging markets such as Brazil and Mexico where there is better scope for development. Combined with the lower cost of technology compared to the early days, investors are more confident of getting a return in a wide range of markets. The UK weren’t the only European countries to fall in the rankings, both France and Germany lost ground too.
But it’s the UK’s fall that will be of most concern particularly considering the targets that need to be reached for a lower carbon future. It could be that valuable Government time is being taken up with the EU Referendum at the moment but there are major concerns in the energy industry that they are not taking the problem of renewables seriously enough.