With the surprise UK general election only a few weeks away, the country’s renewable energy trade organisations are rushing to add their voices to the mix, laying out renewable energy “manifestos” and “plans” and “visions” for the resulting UK government to implement upon victory.
Earlier this week, the country’s trade body for the wind, wave, and tidal energy sectors, RenewableUK, published their own manifesto outlining the role renewable energy can play in building a strong energy future for the UK. With the UK general election — announced only a month ago in a surprise move by current Prime Minister Theresa May, in an effort to solidify her grip on power in advance of the Brexit negotiations — RenewableUK has been joined by two other trade bodies in publishing plans for the role renewable energy can play.
On Thursday, both Scottish Renewables and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) published their manifestos, a few weeks out from the election. Both groups are asking for approximately the same thing, though of course they each have different reasons and rationales. Scottish Renewables represents 270 individuals and businesses working in the renewable energy sector in Scotland, whereas the REA is the largest renewable energy trade association in the UK, representing approximately 600 members across the 4 countries of the UK.
The REA narrowed their “top level industry asks” down to three highlights:
- Recommit support for the Climate Change Act and the upcoming Carbon Budgets to give businesses the confidence to invest for the long-term.
- Commit to publishing a comprehensive Clean Growth Plan by this year’s Autumn Statement which lays out clear pathways to meeting our 4th and 5th Carbon Budgets so that renewable energy and clean technology businesses and investors can have the clarity they need to build new low-carbon infrastructure.
- Commit to the transposition of all EU energy and environmental regulations into UK law at the point of departure from the EU, including a meaningful price for carbon, thus ensuring alignment with the Internal Energy Market, and maintaining economic stability.
“All elections have themes, and as we all know, ‘strong and stable’ is the message Theresa May is taking to the country,” said Chief Executive, Dr Nina Skorupska CBE. “For the renewables industry, strength and stability are things we crave more than any other. The past two years have seen my members rocked by policy change after policy change, and uncertainty following the Brexit vote. From renewable heat, solar, biomass, biogas, marine- we have not seen a member unaffected. But we now have to put that behind us and push forward.”
Meanwhile, moving north, Scottish Renewables narrowed their requests down to 7 recommendations:
- Maintain commitment to climate change targets
- Unlock investment in lowest-cost forms of energy
- Continue the growth of less-established technologies
- Accelerate the decarbonisation of heat and transport within an integrated energy system
- Enable local communities to benefit from clean growth
- Support research and innovation to deliver a smarter energy system
- Back our world-leading low-carbon energy sector
“The growth of renewables has been one of the defining shifts in our energy system over the last decade, with renewables in Scotland now generating a significant share of the UK’s electricity needs,” said Niall Stuart, Scottish Renewables’ Chief Executive. “Advances in technology and rapid cost reductions mean that our industry can generate further economic and environmental benefit to Scotland and the UK — providing affordable energy for households and business, and driving clean growth across the country.
“However, we will only realise those benefits with the right policy framework to unlock the investment, research and innovation required to deliver a secure, modern and low-carbon energy system.”
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