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Clean energy transition – UK progress reviewed in report

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A new report has been released by the REA reviewing the UK’s progress with the deployment of renewable and clean energy technologies and our overall energy transition.

‘REview23’ shows that while progress on renewable power remains positive, until supportive Government policy measures are announced for heat, transport and circular bioresources, it will continually be a challenge for the UK to meet its legally binding net zero commitments.

The report goes on to highlight the economic opportunity available via the energy transition, with the clean energy sector’s market value on track to double from £23bn in 2022 to £46bn by 2035, supporting more than 210,000 jobs.

It points out that these figures can be exceeded, providing the right policy and regulatory environment are in place, warning that political uncertainty and the “rolling back on green policies”, such as the changes recently announced by the Prime Minister, are counterproductive and risk international investment being allocated elsewhere.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • 8.36% of the UK’s total heat consumption and 5.32% of the UK’s total transport energy consumption was generated by renewables in 2022.
  • The clean energy sector’s market value is expected to double to £46bn, creating a 50% increase to related employment levels, from 140,700 in 2022 to 210,000, by 2035.
  • In 2022, bioenergy continued to play a significant role generating clean power, while wind energy accounted for more than half of all renewable electricity.
  • Recycling rates for 2021 (the latest available full year) increased slightly, to 43.7%, but the circular bioresources sector remains overlooked – a disappointing state of affairs, given the organics industry’s desire and ability to help achieve Net Zero targets.

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA, said:

“The urgent need to unlock policy and investment blockages is clear throughout REview23, which shows that in 2022, only 14% of the UK’s total energy consumption came from renewable sources across heat, transport and power according to Government statistics (DUKES, 2023).

“While we continued to see the dynamic resilience of the renewable and clean energy technology sector over 2022 through the energy crisis, as well as months of political and policy uncertainty, we are not immune to real world economic forces. Indeed, at times it can feel as if we are wading through treacle when repeatedly being challenged to make the economic case for net zero.

“Even though it has been proven countless times that the energy transition is as much an economic opportunity as an environmental imperative, our sector still finds itself having to overcome naysayers time and time again.

“REview23 projects that thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds will be added by the sector by 2035, and these figures could be even greater should the Government deliver the right support. Of course, these numbers are by no means guaranteed if the Government continues to provide patchy and unreliable policy.

“We are clear, tackling climate change and boosting our economy is not an ‘either-or’ decision. In fact, it goes hand in hand. I would urge the Government to recognise the opportunities on offer for our country and finally match their warm words with action.”

The annual report can be downloaded in full from the REA’s website.


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