A new report has found the UK low carbon and green economy to be four times the size of the country’s manufacturing sector. Despite experiencing a small downturn during the pandemic, the growth of the sector looks to be promising in the next five years.
What is Happening?
- The UK’s low carbon and environmental goods and services sector (LCEGS) is estimated to be worth more than USD $270 billion (£200 billion), which is four times more than the country’s manufacturing sector, according to a new analysis.
- The low carbon sector encompasses products and services provided from across the UK economy including cleaner transportation and efficient home insulations. While the impact of the pandemic has been significant on the sector, forecasts for its future growth looks to be promising and its ability to recover from the pandemic.
- In the new study, there are now more than 75,700 businesses in the UK green and low carbon economy, ranging from wind turbine manufacturers to recycling plants, with more than 1.2 million people employed in the sector between 2020 and 2021.
- Employment in the UK green economy was also at an all-time high in 2019/20 reaching up to 1.48 million jobs. Though the number experienced a slight drop when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
- Similarly, the number of green companies in the country increased up to 87,339 in 2019/20.
- The report, conducted by analysts kMatrix Data Services, is based on 900 data sources from the UK government, the private sector and academia.
- Currently, low carbon companies take up the largest proportion of the sector at 49%, while renewable energy companies contribute to 35%.
- The sale of wind-generated electricity is particularly notable, the sector generated up to more than USD $45 billion (£33 billion), which includes control systems development and manufacture, consulting houses and companies providing power firming systems and services, maintenance services and grid integration services.
- Aside from wind energy, the biggest growths experienced in the UK green economy between 2018/19 and 2019/20 include biomass (16.4%), wave and tidal (12.5%) and carbon capture and storage (11.7%).
- While the Bank of England forecasts about 7.3% growth for the UK economy in 2021, the green economy is unlikely to benefit from the injection of money in the country’s plan to boost the market.
- However, based on projection data, the sector is expected to grow up to USD $367 billion (£266.5 billion) over the next five years, though sales from energy generation will likely need to take at least two years to return to pre-pandemic numbers.
Table 1:UK LCEGS Sector Timeseries 2007/08 to 2025/26 (Sales £bn). Credit: kMatrix.
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