Britain’s low-carbon and renewable energy (LCRE) economy generated £46.2 billion in revenues and accounted for 1.3 per cent of all non-financial business activity in 2014, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The survey found that around 96,500 companies were involved in the LCRE economy in 2015, employing 238,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.
With a combined turnover of £21.9 billion, energy efficiency related activities were responsible for the largest share of economic output. The roughly 52,000 companies operating in this area provided 155,500 FTE jobs, more than half of the overall total.
Low-carbon electricity also made a significant contribution, with approximately 27,000 firms generating revenues of £12.4 billion and employing around 40,500 FTE workers.
The other areas covered – low-carbon heat, energy from waste and biomass, low-carbon services and low-emissions vehicles – all made far more modest contributions.
The numbers are based on a survey sent out in 2015 to a sample of almost 42,000 businesses in the UK. Preliminary figures were published in December, which have now been finalised.
The UK’s green economy was a net drag on the country’s balance of payments. It imported £5.9 billion of products and services but exported only £4.8 billion. Low-emissions vehicles made the largest contribution to exports, accounting for more than 60 per cent of the total.
The figures showed that the LCRE economy in Scotland was proportionately larger than in the rest of Britain. It generated revenues of £5.6 billion, employed roughly 21,500 FTE workers and made up 2.4 per cent of all non-financial business activity in the country – almost twice the UK wide figure.
The attractiveness of the UK as a destination for investment in renewables is in decline according to a recent report by accountancy firm EY.