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28th June 2016

Renewables post-Brexit

The renewables sector has been quick to respond to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and is already pressing the Government to give a clear commitment to energy policy in negotiating the terms of the UK’s exit. This, it hopes, will go some way to minimising the impact of Brexit on the sector, as well as reassuring those working and investing in it.

Whilst renewables has had a challenging last 12 months, we have seen solar PV producing more electricity than coal in the UK during May, with solar being responsible for 6% of the UK’s electricity generation in May and coal supplying just 4%[1]. There is also now more than 10GW of solar PV installed in the UK[2].

These statistics are testimony to the sector’s resilience, creativity and adaptability despite sudden policy changes and severe cuts to subsidies.

The UK has historically played a key role in shaping EU energy policy, and has taken the lead in its implementation. We therefore think it is unlikely that there will be a complete departure from EU legislation.

The UK’s renewable energy sector will however continue to lobby the Government to provide clear policy that will positively shape the future of the sector in this country. Independent, not-for-profit sustainable energy organisation Regen SW has asked its members to unite in calling for “a post-Brexit UK to recommit to our world-leading Climate Change Act; to our commitment to 15% of our energy from renewables by 2020; and a shift to a smart decentralised renewable energy system – in short to a leading international role in climate and energy”.

There may be a degree of uncertainty in the renewables sector following the vote for Brexit which in the short-term could affect investor confidence. Investors should take comfort from the fact that the industry is an ever-changing one and has shown over the last year that it can adapt and innovate. There should also be confidence that whatever happens in the aftermath of Brexit, the renewables sector is determined and will look to continue to grow and build on its success.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article, please contact Helen Rumford, Head of Renewables at Thrings.

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