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UK renewables sector facing significant job losses, business closures at hands of policy proposals

Image: Nottingham City Council.

Image: Nottingham City Council.

The UK’s domestic renewables sector faces significant job losses, business closures and collapses in deployment should the government persevere with policy proposals as planned.

Those are the findings of surveys published as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) prepares to consider submissions to consultations on the planned closure of the feed-in tariff - for both generation and export payments - from 1 April 2019.

The plans were first revealed in July and, if enacted, would remove all forms of support for small-scale renewables from that date while also effectively blocking self-generating consumers from receiving payments for surplus energy they export to the grid.

The Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC), a member organisation and subsidiary of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), received survey responses from 140 companies. Nearly 80% of respondents said they would be forced to reduce staffing levels if government followed through on the proposals, around half of which said headcounts would have to fall by more than 75%.

Around 40% of those surveyed said they would consider leaving the industry entirely.

The results echo the findings of a similar survey conducted by sister publication Solar Power Portal. Of the installers to respond to that survey, more than half said they expected to lose staff as a result of the proposals.

Nina Skorupska, chief executive at the REA, said that it had become “increasingly clear” that the government was “endangering the jobs of thousands” by proposing the cuts without alternative measures in place.

“The world of energy is changing from one dominated by centralised energy generating systems, to one based on local distributed energy which is ideal for solar, combined with battery storage technology, solar has enormous potential to meet our energy needs now and for generations to come.

“The government should be deploying its energy policy to support the solar sectors growth and not pull the rug from under the feet of thousands of hardworking business men and women up and down the country,” she said.

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