Green Day: UK needs ‘consistent’ investment climate to meet energy goals
The government needs to be more “decisive and consistent” in its approach to renewables, or risk missing its net zero goals, warned a policy expert for the UK’s leading clean energy bodies.
Laurie Heyworth, policy analyst for emerging technology at Renewable UK – which specialises in wind and tidal power – told City A.M. the government’s erratic policy decisions were undermining the country’s investment climate.
He said: “The Budget last week was pretty disappointing. There still isn’t a strong policy position the UK has taken in response to the US IRA or to REPowerEU – which is very ambitious as well.”
The government is planning to outline its own proposals to boost investment in renewable energy at this week’s “Green Day” – which is expected to be unveiled on Thursday 30 March.
However, Heyworth argued that the government was failing to match intentions with policy.
For example, he believed its decision to unveil lower-than-expected funding levels for the upcoming offshore wind auction round was already undermining confidence in the energy sector.
He warned the next contracts for difference allocation window includes a “very challenging” strike price in light of recent economic conditions such as high inflation, rising interest rates, and global supply chain issues.
“It’s difficult to see how it will be economically feasible for them to bid without significantly, reducing the viability of their projects,” he said.
Heyworth considered the current decade to be “defining years” for ramping up renewable energy – with the government aiming to increase offshore wind generation from 12GW to 50GW by the end of the decade as part of its energy security strategy.
To meet this target, Renewable UK is calling on the government to invest £4bn in upgrading ports to meet demand in floating offshore wind projects – an area where the country is currently an energy leader.
It forecasts that this could generate £26.6bn of economic activity by 2040 and help regenerate British communities, in line with the government’s “Levelling Up” strategy.
The government has been approached for comment.