UK low carbon economy grew by 5 percent in 2016 finds ONS report

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found that the UK low carbon and renewable energy economy grew by 5 percent to £42.6 billion in 2016, from £40.5 billion in 2015.
UK low carbon economy grew by 5 percent in 2016 finds ONS report

Thereafter, the LCRE continued to account for around 1 percent of total UK non-financial turnover. The number of employees working directly in the LCRE economy in the UK, grew by 3.3 percent to 208,000 fulltime equivalents in 2016, from 201,500 in 2015 and continued to account for around 1 percent of total UK non-financial employees.

Almost half the total of LCRE turnover was provided by energy efficiency (£20.7 billion) which also provided over two-thirds of LCRE employment in 2016 (141,500 FTE). However, turnover in the solar sector fell from 3.1 billion in 2015 to £2.0 billion in 2016. Onshore wind activity in Scotland accounted for almost half (45.8 percent - £1.5 billion) of the UK’s total turnover from this sector, whole over 80 percent (£2.4 billion) of the UK turnover from offshore wind was generated in England. Exports related to low emissions vehicles provided £2.2 billion in 2016, representing 60 percent of all UK LCRE exports.

The figures in this report are estimates based on surveys of 14,000 businesses. This means they are subject to some uncertainty. Activity in the UK LCRE economy is spread across a wide range of industries, with many sectors being small but growing. Many businesses regard LCRE economy as secondary activity. A more complete picture of how the LCRE is growing will only be possible once longer-term trends are available.

Many will see these results as further evidence that the UK green economy is thriving and performing well within the larger UK economy, despite the disappointing results for the solar sector. However, missed opportunities mean that the UK could have done even better. 

"These figures are a clear reminder that our clean energy industry is one of the most thriving sectors of the UK economy, giving jobs to thousands of people and attracting billions in investment" said Greenpeace UK senior energy campaigner Emma Gibson. "But they also lay bare the damage done to the solar and onshore wind sectors by government cuts and policy confusion. Instead of supporting a tottering and unpopular fracking industry that hasn't delivered and may never, ministers should consider giving their full backing to a renewable sector already bringing jobs and investment to Britain." 

For additional information:

Office of National Statistics

UK environmental accounts: Low carbon and renewable energy economy survey, final estimates: 2016  

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