UK ‘must try harder’ says EY renewables update

  • Lightsource generic

    2016 will be a 'make-or-break' year for the UK renewables sector according to the latest update from EY. Image: Lightsource

The UK ‘must try harder’ in the remainder of 2016 following a difficult year for the renewables sector, according to the latest update from EY on the global renewables market.

The UK fell out of the top ten countries included in the renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) for the first time back in September, after the UK government were accused of sentencing the renewables industry to “death by a thousand cuts”.

The latest quarterly release did not provide an updated index ranking as the report is being updated to reflect the decline of government support for renewables as they edge towards a subsidy-free market. A new index is expected in April, however the latest bulletin provides an indication of how EY is expected global markets to fare over the next 12-18 months.

The UK was dubbed a ‘must try harder’ market alongside other European countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain, all of which have struggled from either “a weak 2015 or more fundamental underlying challenges”. EY claims 2016 will prove to be a make-or-break year for these markets.

While the update does not provide a definitive ranking for the UK in terms of attracting investment more than other global renewable markets, it does suggest that countries like South Africa – ranked one place below – and Turkey could overtake the UK, seeing it drop further down the index.

The future growth of the UK’s renewables sector has faced serious questions following the outcome of last year’s general election. Since May, a raft of green policies governing support for solar and wind technologies have been slashed or otherwise altered to cut spending on renewables, leading many to question how the industry – particularly the solar sector – can continue to grow towards grid parity.

These decisions are thought to have had a direct impact on investor confidence in the UK, with the energy and climate change select committee recently hearing evidence in support of this view.

However, a number of large solar developers have claimed to currently be working on subsidy-free projects in the UK. Speaking earlier this month at the Solar Finance and Investment conference in London, Nick Boyle, chief executive of Lightsource, claimed the technology was already able to undercut fossil fuels in certain circumstances. 

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