Investment in UK’s energy sector at 20 year high, find new EY research

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Investment in UK’s energy sector at 20 year high, finds new EY research

  • Investment in excess of £10bn in 2011
  • Total contribution of the energy sector to GDP reached £86bn
  • Direct employment in the sector at 137,000

Over £43bn has been invested by energy companies in the UK in the last 4 years, according to EY’s Powering the UK report.

The report, which investigates trends in employment and investment in the energy sector, found that both are on the rise at a time when activity in other sectors is in decline. By the end of 2012, the report estimates that £30 billion will have been invested in the last two years and that the total number of jobs linked to the sector will rise to 654,500.

Looking at future investment trends, Powering the UK raises concerns that current economic constraints and policy uncertainty can slow down decision-making and delay new projects jeopardising the UK’s ability to attract investment.

Tony Ward, Power & Utilities Partner at EY said:

"Our research shows record levels of investment in the UK’s energy infrastructure at a time when investment across the economy as a whole is slowing. 2011 alone saw in excess of £10bn invested, with the industry delivering 6% growth in employment across the UK. This investment momentum has been the result of trust engendered by the historically clear path in energy policy. However, the transition to a low-carbon economy, and the further acceleration of investment, means more needs to be done - and we are not presently on track.

“Confidence is vital; whether it’d be to invest, to ensure that we are working towards a fuel mix and infrastructure that will enable long-term security of supply and stability in energy prices, or to enable the creation of jobs in an evolving energy sector that involves both users and producers. This can be achieved through the consistent and clear articulation of the direction and objectives of UK energy policy backed up by decisions that are in line with those objectives. With Electricity Market Reform (EMR) still to be delivered in its final form, and short term focus seeming to drive many recent statements, creating confidence cannot be taken for granted.”