Speaking the Government's Language
A look at EY's Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index
David Cameron spoke much about Britain being involved in a global race in the run-up to the election. This means Britain must appear to be an economically stable and business-friendly country that attracts inward investment. This is a narrative that runs deep within the Conservative Party and for that reason the uncertainty of the Government’s policies towards the renewables industry has been a key line of attack from renewable businesses and some pro-business MPs.
Earlier this week EY launched its latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index. The quarterly report ranks 40 countries on their attractiveness for renewable investors and developers. For the first time, the UK was left out of the top ten. For opponents of the Government’s stance on renewables, the report proved a valuable weapon, not least when directed at the pro-business party. The new Shadow Energy Secretary Lisa Nandy also cited the report in her debut appearance at DECC oral questions yesterday. She argued that Britain’s position as a renewable leader was under threat from uncertainty being caused by this Government.
Of all the critiques of this Government’s renewables policy, the argument about uncertainty for the sector seems to be getting the most traction. Even Conservative backbenchers have been making this case. At yesterday’s DECC oral questions two Conservative MPs, Maria Caulfield and Jo Churchill, gave examples of Government policies which were impacting investor decisions. Such interventions demonstrate the argument that is likely to be most successful with the current Government – that is, adopting pro-business language. Framed in this way, the critique of the Government’s policies is more likely to be heard than the environmental case alone.