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Company directors “overwhelmingly” back renewables

A survey of nearly 1,000 directors shows that the vast majority back strong government action to increase renewables and reduce carbon emissions from UK energy supply.

A survey of nearly 1,000 directors shows that the vast majority back strong government action to increase renewables and reduce carbon emissions from UK energy supply.

The survey from the Institute of Directors (IoD) found that while directors largely agreed that positive action had been taken to green the UK’s energy supply since 2002, they believed that successive governments had failed to deliver secure, competitively-priced energy for their business.

Around three quarters of business leaders agreed that the UK needs to decarbonise its energy use to mitigate the effects of climate change, with wave and tidal, solar power and offshore wind the preferred sources of clean energy.

Directors also showed more support for renewables than for fracking. 

‘Overwhelming support’

However, around two thirds thought that governments had failed to make energy available at a reasonable cost or take effective action to ensure security of supply.

Dan Lewis, senior infrastructure policy advisor at the IoD, said businesses “overwhelmingly support” cutting carbon emissions, but that government energy policy was “creating all sorts of bizarre outcomes” that were failing to deliver secure and affordable power.

“Renewables are a significant, and growing, source of energy. The UK has the world’s highest offshore wind capacity, with much more expected. But technology based on the weather doesn’t work all of the time, so the UK needs a mix of renewables, nuclear and the cleanest hydrocarbons.”

UK energy

According to the most recent government data, the UK is now consuming 17 per cent less energy than it did in 1998, a fall that that is attributed to increased energy efficiency, government policy and a general decline in UK manufacturing. 

The percentage of energy coming from renewable and waste sources has also risen from 1 per cent to 9 per cent and counting. 

At the same time, the data show that decline in North Sea oil and gas production has meant the UK has become more dependent on importing energy from overseas.

The UK imported 38 per cent of its energy supply in 2015. However, this is below average for the EU, with Germany, Italy and Spain all more reliant on imports.