REA responds to Vince Cable industry speech

Business, innovation and skills (BIS) secretary Vince Cable has set out his vision for the future development of the British economy. 

Energy is identified in one of three target categories for support, with an industrial strategy for energy expected in ‘early 2013’. The category is identified as ‘enabling’ and the accompanying BIS analysis says strategic partnerships with the energy sector are ‘likely to be highly beneficial to the growth agenda’.

REA head of external affairs Leonie Greene said: “It is helpful that Vince Cable understands a successful approach to infrastructure investment requires a long-term perspective. The Olympics is a brilliant example to draw lessons from. It was supported by a cross-party consensus, something the renewables sector and the public would greatly benefit from, because certainty reduces costs.”

The REA is also urging the coalition government to join up the renewable energy agenda with the pressing national need for jobs and growth. REA analysis suggests that meeting the binding 2020 renewable energy targets will require up to 400,000 highly diverse jobs by 2020. However, BIS’s own ‘Skills for a Green Economy’ report makes clear there is a risk of market failure in employment in the renewables sector. Vince Cable highlighted the serious shortage of engineers, an issue which concerns the renewables sector. The REA has called for a dedicated skills strategy for renewables to address expected skills shortages, and for a Minister with responsibility for renewables at BIS. 

Leonie Greene added: “This is a step forward by BIS, but the coalition government could inspire the nation right now with a much bolder vision for jobs and growth right across the renewable energy sector. Given huge public support for renewables and the tremendous opportunities this sector opens up for the UK economy, it’s frustrating that parts of government have been allowed to muffle an exciting agenda that should be shouted from the rooftops.”