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What will Brexit mean for UK renewables and energy efficiency?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 27 June 2016 at 10:15 am

Now that we have all a little time to digest the shocking news from Friday, I thought I would put forward some more constructive views on Brexit and what it could mean to the UK renewables and energy efficiency markets.

During the campaigning the EU was often cited as the reason for our progress on carbon emissions reductions, but actually the UK was already leading the way here.  Sure a few policies have fallen by the way side recently and subsidies for renewables have been reduced and we haven’t had a decent energy efficiency policy for a while, BUT we do have a Climate Change Act (CCA) and we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (from 1990 levels) and to supply 15% of our energy consumption from renewables by 2020.  The CCA is a legally binding commitment that the UK has made to achieve these goals.

So yes, we may moan about reduced FiTs, but at least we still have some subsidy.  We also still have the RHI. We still have the Energy Company Obligation. Customers are still having renewable energy and energy efficiency installs and strides are still being made to counter fuel poverty.  We even have our very own Community Energy Policy.

What we need to do now is to encourage and support the government to continue leading the way, to bring in tougher building regulations to encourage lower carbon new builds and renovations and to negotiate trade deals as quickly as possible so that we can still get the equipment and materials needed (sadly we don’t seem to make much in the way of renewables these days). 

A spokesman for the STA, speaking to YouGen, explained that ‘despite this decision to leave the EU, the Solar Trade Association urges the UK government to maintain its 15% renewable target by 2020 and establish further targets in line with the Carbon Budgets and the UK’s 80% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2050. There will now be a lot of work to do to renegotiate various deals, laws and treaties in the energy field – not least the UK’s contribution within the Paris Agreement. We urge the UK to maintain its commitment to the transition to a zero carbon economy throughout this process.”

One of the things that this government has done recently is to commission a review of consumer advice, protection, standards and enforcement.  The review, now called Every Homes Matters, was not an EU initiative, but requested jointly by DECC and DCLG.  This review will put forward recommendations which should help to support and develop our retrofit and renovation industry.  By improving training, increasing standards and developing customer awareness in the future, we should be assured of a blooming market, and that’s without needing the EU to set us on the right path.

A positive which may come out of Brexit, could be our ability to keep vat on energy efficiency measures at 5%. See our blog , or perhaps we should collectively call on government to reduce it to 0%?

Photo: Ungry Young Man via Flickr

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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1 comments - read them below or add one

Sara Lou

Sara LouComment left on: 15 August 2016 at 9:52 pm

A mixed bag indeed. Whilst i suspect energy prices will go up in time as still rely on natural gas for a lot of energy there are some benefits as you point out above too. Perhaps personaly my biggest worry is that investment in research and development for the industry will be hit by brexit. This is something that cannot be allowed to happen and the UK government should ring fence funds to continue development in this area.

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