Brexit takes centre stage at All Energy 2017

REA chief executive Nina Skorupska
REA chief executive Nina Skorupska

The Renewable Energy Association has set out its vision for the UK’s progress in ‘clean technology’ post Brexit.

The UK’s largest renewables trade body unveiled its “Manifesto for Growth” at the All-Energy conference in Glasgow.

The REA claim a low-cost, low-carbon energy system provides huge opportunities for the UK.

But the group warned that industry needs to see the “strong and stable” direction that the Government are campaigning on.

Chief Executive, Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, laid out three top industry ‘asks’ at the conference.

They are; a recommitment to support for the Climate Change Act and upcoming Carbon Budgets to give businesses a confidence boost.

A commitment for a Clean Growth Plan by the Autumn Budget statement.

And finally the transposition of all EU energy and environmental regulations into UK law at the point of departure from the EU.

This would include a meaningful price for carbon, ensuring alignment with the Internal Energy Market, and maintaining economic stability.

Dr Skorupska said: “All elections have themes, and as we all know, ‘strong and stable’ is the message Theresa May is taking to the country.

“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.”

Dr Skorupska added that there has been “much to celebrate” with an increase in jobs in renewables, now standing at over 125,000 people working in the UK, up from 117,000 last year.

However she said there was room for improvement on that employment figure, with the opportunity to “flourish” if the REA manifesto was adopted.

She added: “Renewable solutions are now cheaper than fossil fuel scenarios, but are getting blocked to market.

“This is bad for consumers, who will be paying more now, as well as locked into a higher cost, higher carbon energy system for decades to come.”

“Our manifesto for growth is about creating certainty and confidence, a fresh commitment to the Climate Change Act, a smooth and orderly transition from the EU; and a clear and ambitious Clean Growth Plan which we hope will show a post-Brexit Britain as a dynamic and bold country looking at the opportunities of renewables, not clinging to the industries of the past.”

The topic of leaving Britain leaving the European Union also came up at the plenary session on the second day of the conference.

Director of The Centre For Energy Policy at Strathclyde University Professor Karen Turner summed up the industry’s frustration when she said it was “difficult” to speak with any kind of authority on the matter as so much about Brexit was unprecedented.