Ernst and Young gives government wake-up call on clean-tech

Confidence that the government will grow the UK’s clean energy sector over the next year has fallen sharply since last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review and electricity market reform. That’s the […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Confidence that the government will grow the UK’s clean energy sector over the next year has fallen sharply since last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review and electricity market reform.

That’s the conclusion of new research from Ernst & Young, which surveyed 529 UK-based corporates, financiers and cleantech companies.

The study found that just 13% of respondents believe the coalition government will establish the conditions for success in the cleantech sector in 2011. This compares to a figure of 38% from a similar survey undertaken between August and October last year.

Doubts over whether effective financing frameworks will be in place this year to support growth in the cleantech sector have also markedly increased. The survey found that only 12% believe the right frameworks will be in place, compared to 36% originally.

Furthermore, the survey also found that 51% now believe that UK investment in clean energy and clean technology will increase compared to 2010, a fall of 10% from the original survey.

And just 7% expect there to be sufficient investment in 2011 to give the UK a competitive advantage, compared to 17% in the earlier research.

Steve Lang, Ernst & Young’s UK Cleantech Leader, said: “These results are a wake-up call to a government that had set out to be ‘the greenest ever’. Although the Comprehensive Spending Review left the clean technology sector relatively unscathed, the market is now less confident that it will deliver the economic growth and jobs that Britain so urgently requires.

“This is because the government has not yet established a clear and long-term policy framework for cleantech that will unlock the investment needed to establish infrastructure and create jobs in such an internationally competitive sector.”

Mr Lang added: “The global cleantech market is at a tipping point. With money drastically limited, and as public sector job losses begin to bite, cleantech has unique potential to deliver long-term economic growth, create jobs, energy security and cutting edge competitiveness to the UK economy as we transition to a low carbon more resource efficient world.

“We need decisive action now or investors will deploy capital into more dynamic cleantech markets where they are sure the sector is going to be supported over the long term. It’s time to deliver.”