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Brexit ‘slowed down investment’ into UK renewables, report finds

© Shutterstock / Ink DropBrexit UK renewables
Brexit suporters in central London, January 2019.

Brexit has “posed challenges” to development of renewables in the UK, according to a new report into the country’s energy transition.

Consultancy Cornwall Insight and law firm Womble Bond Dickinson have published a whitepaper asking whether the UK is “leading the way”.

Among several key challenges, the pair said the country leaving the EU has harmed the net zero agenda.

“Following the referendum in 2016, UK policy was centred around a successful exit from the European Union, meaning that net zero commitments were not prioritised in the national agenda”, the report states.

Therefore, “a period of opportunity was missed” in the late 2010s, “with Brexit partially slowing down investment into the UK”.

The impact on renewables from Brexit were due to limitations in the amount that international capital wanted to take exposure to sterling, the whitepaper stated.

Other key challenges outlined in the document link to a lack of policy clarity to new technologies like carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and the recent surge in gas and wholesale electricity prices.

The paper, titled  “The UK and the energy transition: Leading the way?” also boasts the country’s strengths to be taken advantage of, such as the supply chain, a “friendly environment” for energy investment and its geographical location.

It looks across sectors including oil and gas, floating wind, CCUS and others.

Richard Cockburn, head of Energy at Womble Bond Dickinson, said: “The report takes a global view, and the research has made it increasingly clear that the journey to net zero must be a collaborative one. Whilst the UK is well placed to take the lead in many areas of transition, the right policies need to be in place to make this a reality.”

Dan Atzori, Research Partner at Cornwall Insight, added: “This research should give industry and government a better understanding of the main opportunities and challenges facing the UK when it comes to decarbonising our energy system.

“Our research is designed to bring new insight to industry, help leaders to collaborate and connect and share valuable global data that shines a light on key global lessons and trends.”

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