UK politicians and policy makers are being urged to not let “short-term, pre-election politics” overshadow the much-needed long-term energy strategy.
A new report being launched in Parliament today claims a majority (63%) of MPs agree that renewable energy benefits the UK economy while 69% believe it would create significant job opportunities.
The report by the Dods Renewable Energy Dialogue – a programme bringing together a group of organisations including Vestas and Co-operative Energy – argues the political consensus should be “nurtured” and the Government must do more to communicate the benefits of renewables to the public as well as support initiatives to encourage community investment.
It suggests although renewable energy already plays a significant part of the UK’s electricity production, more growth is needed to meet the ambitious targets at both the domestic and European levels.
The report offers recommendations including working towards building a political consensus around renewable energy, recognising that investment today will lead to future savings and developing the domestic supply chain.
Tim Yeo MP, Chairman of Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee said: “The importance of renewable energy in the UK continues to grow. Our geographical location and available expertise has seen the development of a full portfolio of renewable generation technologies.
“Although the recent focus by Government on reducing the cost of ‘green levies’ on energy bills has not been helpful for investor confidence in green energy projects, if you look beyond the political posturing, there are many positives to draw from.”
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) welcomed the report and is urging David Cameron to “take heed and back national 2030 renewables targets” later this month.
Dr Nina Skorupska, REA Chief Executive said: “Today’s report suggests that the limited yet vocal pushback against renewables is strongest on the Tory backbenches. So we need to do two things. Firstly, in order to unlock investment, David Cameron must rise above short-term party politics and show leadership by backing national 2030 renewables targets. This will accelerate cost reductions, emissions savings and job creation.
“Secondly, we in industry need to engage more effectively with those who remain unconvinced of the benefits of renewables.”
The REA estimates the UK renewables industry was worth £12.5 billion to the economy, supporting 110,000 jobs in 2012.