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What Next for Renewables After Brexit?

15 Feb 18:00 by Steve Walia

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So what is next for the renewable energy industry in the face of Brexit? Will the economic case for green energy remain strong in Britain once it leaves Europe, given that EU directives have helped to shape the UK's investment in renewable energies for some years?

One particular concern is that British research teams may find themselves isolated from European-wide development projects, with funding reserved for those within the union. This could see scientists who have previously worked as close colleagues suddenly being unable to continue their joint research into fresh innovations because of work restrictions and funding issues. This may well be a particular problem after 2020, although there is time for mitigating arrangements to be agreed beforehand as part of the Brexit negotiations. 

One positive factor may be that at least the UK and Europe are aligned on energy and climate policy, so negotiations may well be positive. The best outcome would be a global consensus for clean services and goods rather than a fresh series of barriers.

Restrictions on workers could also be a problem, with uncertainty still making universities and the private sector nervous, particularly where specialist talent and expertise is needed. If, however, the government's industrial strategy can include renewables, and the May negotiations with the EU on Brexit progress positively, outcomes may be good.

Meanwhile, similar queries around the next steps for renewables are being raised in the USA, with President Trump's famously anti-green energy stance being challenged by the market strength and growth of renewables within the country. And equally, China and India are leading an Asian clean energy revolution. There are certainly huge opportunities ahead if world governments can look to cooperate and collaborate in the fight against climate change.