The UK low carbon and renewable energy (LCRE) economy grew by 6.8 per cent to £44.5 billion in 2017, according to the final results from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) survey.

This is up from £41.7 billion in 2016. The ONS defines the low carbon economy as “economic activities that deliver goods and services that generate significantly lower emissions of greenhouse gases; predominantly carbon dioxide”.

The results show that the number of employees working directly in the LCRE economy in the UK was relatively stable, with 209,500 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2017 compared with 208,300 in 2016.

Businesses with activity in the energy efficient product group continued to account for almost half of the total LCRE turnover (£20.7 billion) and over two-thirds of LCRE employment (142,100 FTE) in 2017.

The survey found that the increase in turnover was driven by “businesses classified within the production of electricity industry”.

Renewable heat saw the biggest growth in terms of turnover – from £0.5 billion in 2016 to £1.7 billion in 2017.

However turnover from onshore wind activity fell to £2.8 billion in 2017 from £3.3 billion in 2016.

This, the ONS claims, was driven by a decrease in onshore wind turnover from businesses within the manufacturing and construction industry.

Exports from the low emissions vehicles sector meanwhile were £2.8 billion in 2017, over half of the total UK LCRE economy exports.

In response to the results, Robert Cheesewright, director of corporate affairs at Smart Energy GB, said: “These figures show going green boosts the economy by billions of pounds a year and creates jobs. Better still, it could be even more when underpinned by smart meters in every home and a smart grid.”

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