Posted: 26 April, 2012. Written by REA News
Renewable Energy Association
26th April 2012
REA responds to Prime Minister's speech at Clean Energy Ministerial
Recognition of renewable energy welcome, but benefits need urgently to be better understood
The REA  has welcomed the acknowledgement by the Prime Minister today  that renewables are the fastest growing energy sector in the world. However, the REA wants the Government to take more care to understand the many economic benefits of renewable energy investment, including jobs.
REA Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell said:
“Renewables account for 110,000 UK jobs, seven times more than David Cameron thinks. The sector's turnover last year was £12.5 billion . Of the low carbon energy sources that the Government is looking to bring forward under its Electricity Market Reform proposals, renewables are the most likely to succeed. They can be deployed more quickly, they are proven and they will need less subsidy.
“Renewables have extremely low running costs, but capital costs can be higher than other energy technologies. For that reason it is essential that the cost of financing is kept low. Stable policies build investor confidence and make projects more bankable. The ball is in the Government’s court to make that happen.”
International Energy Agency analysis  shows that globally fossil fuels receive six times the subsidy that renewable energy receives. UK subsidies for fossil fuels are estimated at £3.6 billion, mostly in the form of tax breaks, of which a fresh round was announced for the oil and gas sectors in this year's Budget. The UK Government does not routinely cost the benefits of renewable energy generation - a situation the REA has asked to be addressed in its new report ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain’.
REA Chairman Martin Wright adds:
“There is a tendency to focus on the costs of renewables as opposed to the benefits. Renewables give us energy independence, they are totally sustainable, there is no waste, and over the long term they will provide low cost energy and, above all, price stability.
“Essentially, renewables represent a tremendous business opportunity now, and offer long term comparative advantage for the UK economy. In anyone’s books that is a compelling proposition.”
Renewables facts and stats
For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
REA Press Office: +44 (0)2079 810 856, or:
Name: Gaynor Hartnell
Title: Chief Executive, REA
Tel: +44 (0)7870 629 575
Notes to Editors
1. The Renewable Energy Association represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK across power, heat, transport and renewable gas. It is the largest renewable trade association in the UK, with 960 members, ranging from major multinationals to sole traders. For more information, see: www.r-e-a.net
2. David Cameron’s speech to the Clean Energy Ministerial is available here: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn12_054/pn12_054.aspx
The Clean Energy Ministerial is taking place at Lancaster House in London from 25th-26th April 2012, with energy ministers from 22 countries meeting to discuss low carbon energy. For more information, see: http://www.cleanenergyministerial.org/events/cem3/index.html
3. The Executive Summary of ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain’ is available at: http://www.r-e-a.net/resources/rea-publications. Hard copies of the report, priced at £25, can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
4. The IEA estimates that global subsidies for fossil fuels have risen to over $400 billion in 2010 and will rise to £660 billion by 2020 - or 0.7% of global GDP. The IEA are calling for an end to these perverse subsidies. UK fossil fuel subsidies, mostly in the form of VAT breaks are estimated at £3.63 billion in 2010. Subsidy for renewable energy in the same year was £1.4 billion. For more detail, see ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain,’ p. 13: http://www.r-e-a.net/resources/pdf/60/REA_renewable_energy_report.pdf
A further £3 billion of tax breaks for the oil and gas sector was announced in this year's Budget, available at: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2012.htm
5. DECC: ‘Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics,’ 2011. Available at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/publications/dukes/dukes.aspx
6. See EUROSTAT data here: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/introduction
7. IEA: ‘World Energy Outlook,’ 2011. Available at: http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/
8. EurObserv’ER: ‘The State of Renewable Energies in Europe,’ 2011. Available at: http://www.eurobserv-er.org/pdf/barobilan11.pdf
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