UK losing chance to be “safe harbour” for renewables

The UK is losing out on the chance to be a “safe harbour” for renewable energy in Europe, according to a new report on the sector released by Ernst&Young today. […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The UK is losing out on the chance to be a “safe harbour” for renewable energy in Europe, according to a new report on the sector released by Ernst&Young today.

Delays to the Energy Bill because of political infighting risk squandering the country’s “promising prospects”, suggests the analysts’ tenth anniversary edition of its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices (RECAI).

Although the UK is ranked top for offshore wind, closely followed by Germany and China, comes in second for biomass behind Germany and fourth for onshore wind, Ernst&Young experts believe this strong position could be weakened.

Ben Warren, Environmental Finance Leader at Ernst & Young said: “We are at a stage where the UK is presented with a unique opportunity to become a safe harbour for renewable energy investment in Europe. The foundations are there, reflected by the UK’s consistent performance in our index and its current 5th place ranking, as well as its huge offshore wind potential.”

The report also mentions the UK Government has underwritten £75m in biomass loans and plans to award “final investment decisions” for several large-scale projects ahead of “contract for difference” strike prices being released. However the report suggests tax breaks for shale gas and the continuing tussle over the cost of new nuclear power send “mixed policy signals”.

Mr Warren added: “Competing visions and strategies within the Government about the country’s future energy mix, pose serious questions amongst investors about whether we can compete for capital on a global level.”