Boris Johnson relaunched his premiership last week with a smattering of announcements, which included an increase in defence spending alongside an ambitious Green Industrial Revolution plan. And while those announcements only took place last week, it turns out that Britain’s commitment to going green is already being recognised on the global stage.
The UK has now reached the coveted top five of EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), reaching fifth place in its updated rankings. That’s a big milestone, as the UK has never cracked the top five before, with the UK taking Germany’s place in the rankings, a country that once held a position in the top three.
It’s no surprise to see the UK reach an all-time-high in attractiveness when it comes to investing in renewable energy, as Boris Johnson’s Government has been bullish about trying out different technologies. While the UK is a world leader in offshore wind power, it’s now seeing a hive of activity covering everything from industrial hydrogen to large-scale solar farms, such as the 350MW Cleve Hill project.
Investors still aren’t ready to rank the UK as the most attractive place to invest in renewable energy, however. That position went to the United States, which nabbed the top spot from China earlier this year thanks to the Covid-19 stimulus package and its commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on the first day of a Biden presidency.
That doesn’t mean the UK can’t continue to climb in the rankings. The country has already seen its position improve over the last two years, reaching seventh in November 2019 and sixth in May 2020, now with its fifth position, it only lags slightly behind India and Australia, which sit in fourth and third, respectively.
So, what can the UK do to improve its position? Well, according to Ben Warren, global power & utilities corporate finance leader and RECAI chief editor at EY, the UK would benefit from a more cohesive and strategic energy and environment plan in areas such as energy storage, decarbonisation of heat and transport, and intelligent energy management and trading.
The UK is making steps to improve in these areas, such as the commitment to ban diesel and petrol vehicles a full 10 years earlier than initially planned, but as we say pretty much every week, there’s still much more to be done. Let’s just hope this Government rises to the challenge, and who knows, maybe next year we’ll be celebrating moving up in the rankings again.
This editorial originally appeared in the Electrical Review Newsletter dated November 26, 2020. To ensure you receive these editorials direct to your inbox, subscribe to the newsletter now.