According to a survey by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), 32 out of 39 green energy companies in Britain have admitted to a shortage of cashflow and are finding it hard to obtain loans from banks. With other countries investing highly in renewable energies, the United Kingdom may be at a huge disadvantage.
The Director General of the REA, Philip Wolfe, said, “Given all the rhetoric on ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘Green Tech’ it is astonishing that so far the renewables industry has received no dedicated support – even in areas that don’t cost extra money.”
A few days before the survey was released, BP had cut 620 of its 2,200 solar jobs due to global over-production and because G20 ministers have not come up with any green solutions.
Companies are having a hard time obtaining suppliers. Bioenergy, for example, had once relied on 20 suppliers for biodiesel it sells on to road hauliers now only has about two or three while the rest are out of business.
In just the course of one year, things have gotten sour. Brian White, a director of the Milton Keynes-based green fuel company, said, “This time last year we were positively talking to our bank about borrowing money to buy some refining plant that was being sold off. But by November and December, when we needed an overdraft for a few thousand pounds, they were not interested.”
MGT Power is having difficulty finding banks willing to lend £250m for a 300MW woodchip power station in Teesside. Director Chris Moore said, “It’s not about the attractiveness of projects. People in renewables normally encounter trouble because they’re pushing difficult projects, but there are just literally no funds available.”
The complexity of accessing different government grants is contributing to the delaying of projects such as the One Planet Sutten, which plans to refurbish 3,000 buildings in south London and the Eco Innovation Park in the East Midlands. Many of those who responded to the survey admitted to “just surviving from day to day.”