Investing in renewables and storage for the future of UK energy systems

In this interview, Steve Shine OBE discusses why Anesco built the UK's first subsidy-free solar farm and why investors need certainty, not subsidies.

30 November 2017

An interview with Steve Shine OBE, Executive Chairman at energy efficiency solutions company and renewable energy developer Anesco. This is part of a series of interviews gathering perspectives on infrastructure from industry leaders and key decision makers. Watch the full interview (or read the transcript) below.

The first subsidy-free solar farm in the UK

We just built the first subsidy-free solar farm in the UK. It came with its challenges but that is what we really really enjoy inside Anesco.

A number of people and a lot of our competition left the UK to go and find pastures greener and subsidies elsewhere in the world. We stayed here and we built this. We had the vision that we could do this and the people within this business made it happen.

The renewables market

The effect of Clayhill on the renewable market is going to be significant. It's already been said to be significant, the Energy Minister Claire Perry was quite clear that this is the future. We believe that. We really do believe that, that these type of hybrid systems, which are basically virtual power plants, that can supply energy when required and convert energy which is solar or wind, which is inherently unpredictable, into something that's much more predictable.

So this is the future. This is the way things are going to go and we're seeing a lot of support from the government and a lot of support from National Grid and Ofgem that this is the way they see things.

The press have been very good on this but what we're seeing is really a real support and this is the right way forward but I think over the next six to nine months we're going to start seeing quite a large investment going into storage even colocation or hybrid sites like we said. There's standalone sites as well but actually the colocation and the hybrid sites are going to be the real drive in the future.

Certainty for investors

The biggest bottlenecks at the moment for delivering what the UK absolutely needs in terms of the flexibility and the energy that we need in the future and to meet the 2050 climate change targets is certainty, the lack of certainty for investors.

We don't need subsidy. What we need is some certainty. Investors need to understand where this is going. They need a policy from government that really gives some direction about where this renewables and storage is going to.

I think all of us in the energy business can help to relieve that by talking properly about what it takes – to not be listening just to investors or to government, to Ofgem or to National Grid but to actually really work together about what does this look like and how could we get there?

What does it take to be able to build this and to be more efficient at building it? How can we actually improve the supply chain? What is it we're looking to get to and how can we get there? It needs some clear policy but it needs some input from everybody.

We have EIS in this country. We have tax breaks for people making films. It seems to be logical to me that we should have that for investing in renewables and storage for the future of the UK energy systems.


For more perspectives on infrastructure, read our industry report featuring 13 in-depth interviews with industry leaders and key decision makers in the infrastructure sector.

Investing in renewables and storage for the future of UK energy systems

We don't need subsidy. What we need is some certainty. Investors need to understand where this is going.
Steve Shine OBE, Executive Chairman, Anesco

How can we improve the delivery of UK infrastructure?

How can we improve the delivery of UK infrastructure?

Views from industry leaders and key decision makers, along with survey results from 1,651 members of the general public.
Read report