Brexit; It’s been the buzz word dominating the media recently and it’s likely to continue for some time. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has left both supporting sides of the ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ campaign in a somewhat collective state of uncertainty as to how this decision will impact the country right now and in the future years.
There seems to be many questions, concerns and anxieties regarding how this will impact both our personal lives and businesses. Energy Jobline, a specialist energy jobsite, has recently been talking to several businesses specifically looking into how renewable energy employers feel about the recent decision to leave the EU.
Brexit and Its Impact on Renewable Energy
Following the ‘shock’ decision to leave the EU, the UK has potentially disassociated itself from the renewable energy targets under the EU Renewable Energy Directive and from the EU state aid restrictions. This will give the UK government the freedom for the development and phasing out of renewable energy support plans.
Discussing the decision to leave with current renewable energy businesses working with Energy Jobline there are varying levels of commitment to the UK market, but ultimately all are seeking further clarification on the types of agreements the UK will have with the internal EU energy market. The future really depends on what type of agreement can be negotiated with the EU.
When asking renewable energy businesses the somewhat direct question of whether they believed leaving the EU was a good decision, the answer was an overwhelmingly ‘No’. However, when asking whether this means the future of the renewable energy industry is all ‘doom and gloom’ the response was to some extent more positive. It may not have been the ideal decision but the renewable energy market is strong, developing and the UK will still have the ability to harness this growth as long as businesses are receptive to any changes.
There are clearly some uncertainties about how this will affect businesses, and although the financial times suggests around 20 percent of UK businesses are considering moving operations overseas, most companies we talked to say it is too early to be making these considerations. Businesses are trying to remain positive and ensure they are reactive to the changes leaving the EU will have on their business.
The larger and more established companies within the UK are confident that business will continue to develop but are aware that leaving the EU will have some implications that need to be addressed. The smaller businesses however have indicated that they have less investment and may be more impacted by any of these potential changes. However, on a more positive note, it is the smaller businesses that have the capability of adapting and being more flexible, and so are in a potentially good position to capitalize where gains are to be made.
The Financial Times has indicated that some businesses are planning to freeze hiring and cut any potential investment plans, with nearly two-thirds taking this approach and the other one-third planning to continue to hire at the same rate. This cautionary approach was echoed by our clients regarding investing in future projects and rates of hiring, but the current effects on the generation of renewable energy jobs has not been impacted so far. It is likely that certain businesses will reduce hiring rates and investment plans, whilst other renewable energy companies will continue to hire at a similar rate. This will alter the overall recruitment structure and possibly types of roles advertised, but renewable energy businesses are confident hiring will continue.
The Outlook for Renewable Energy
The fact that clients were not prepared to publicly announce their feelings shows that there are still many uncertainties surrounding the decision to leave the EU and how this will directly affect the renewable energy industry. From our initial talk with our clients there was a general feeling of needing more clarification, but at the same time a belief in the strength of the renewable energy industry and its future in the UK.
In these transformative times we need to remember that with change comes opportunity, and renewable energy businesses were quick to highlight that being both adaptive and reactive to changes will essentially determine the future success of their business.