News of the UK’s positive achievements in the renewables sector over the past year has been welcomed by the industry.
According to the Renewables Global Status Report, the UK ranks as the country with the fourth highest investment in renewable energy.
This may come as a surprise to some, as there have been a series of substantial cuts to green subsidies recently.
Despite a 60% cut to solar tariffs in December 2015, the year saw new solar, wind and hydropower sources added at the fastest rate the world has ever seen.
In total, about 147 gigawatts (GW) of capacity were added in 2015, mainly made up of wind and solar; a clear indication, according to the authors of the report, that these technologies are cost effective.
Global spending on renewables has reached a new peak, and spending on renewable sources, such as wind, has now overtaken coal and natural gas.
The report also revealed that 2015 was the first time that emerging economies spent more than developed economies on renewable power and fuels.
China, the US, Japan, the UK and India added on the largest share of green power, despite the fact that prices of fossil fuels have fallen significantly.
The costs of renewables has also fallen. Worldwide, over 8 million people are now working in renewable energy.
While the statistics were generally seen as good news for the renewables sector, industry experts used the report to highlight the detrimental effect of future government cuts to renewable subsidies.
John Thompson, chief executive of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, said:
“We welcome the news of these statistics, however, it must be stressed that the UK’s high position on the renewables table has been achieved in spite of ever-increasing cuts to renewables subsidies.
“We would urge government to ensure these are not taken any further to avoid causing further adverse impact on the UK renewables job market, and a significant dent in our positioning in dealing with the renewables agenda on the world stage.”
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