Show me the ‘green economy’!

1 min read

According to Energy Minister Greg Hands, the UK is leading the world in renewable energy, but in the real world that would appear to be far from the case.

With the demand for electricity set to double by 2050, most of which will need to be supplied from renewable sources if the UK is to meet net-zero targets, new figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that the UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy hasn’t grown since 2014 and has, in fact, lost a significant number of green jobs. 

Jobs fell by about 28,000 across the UK over the period, to just 207,800, with the steepest declines in factories producing energy-efficient products, onshore wind, and solar energy. 

This government can’t be blamed for the failures of previous administrations, even if they are of the same political complexion, but unless it responds it will be throwing away an enormous opportunity. 

At a time when investment in renewables is soaring worldwide, the number of green businesses operating in the UK has fallen by 13% over the past six years, while turnover for the low-carbon economy dropped 6% to £41.2bn. 

Green sectors such as offshore wind have recorded substantial growth in recent years, but much of that activity has been driven by foreign companies, with the UK relying on imports of turbine blades and components. 

Back in 2020 Boris Johnson announced an ambition to create 250,000 green jobs across the country through a 10-point plan, as part of a wider government drive to hit net zero and deliver a post-pandemic green recovery. 

Let’s hope that for once Johnsonian rhetoric actually delivers, or an enormous opportunity for the UK will be missed.