Supermarket leaders have urged Rishi Sunak to put forward a framework to support investment in renewable energy

A group of some of the country’s biggest supermarkets has urged the government to increase investment in renewable energy to help businesses reduce costs and meet net zero targets.

The leaders of Tesco, Morrisons, M&S and Co-op, among others, have asked PM Rishi Sunak to prioritise incentives to encourage greater investment in renewables, and create fairer pricing for green energy for industry and households alike.

In an open letter to No 10, they said this would help reduce energy costs which have “gone up by hundreds of millions of pounds”, and would ultimately lead to cheaper prices for shoppers.

The grocers, alongside Community Energy England – which represents around 300 community energy businesses – are also pressing for an overhaul of the planning regime to fast-track new wind and solar schemes to unlock additional renewable energy generation capacity.

Co-op CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq said the energy market was “at a crisis point” and that the country needed “urgent government action to deliver energy security, drive economic growth and move us closer to net zero”.

“The UK is still too reliant on fossil fuels and we need to create more UK renewable energy to green the energy grid.

“Grid decarbonisation isn’t going fast enough, and the government needs to incentivise investment in it and push through planning reforms to allow rapid progress for onshore and offshore developments.”

Tesco CEO Ken Murphy added: “The food industry depends on the health of the natural environment and we must work collectively to drive the transformational changes needed to meet the UK’s climate commitments.”

The UK’s biggest supermarket already uses 100% renewable electricity across its own operations. Similarly, Morrisons has been using its own solar panel roofs to help power its stores and sites as part of its commitment to reach net zero in its own emissions by 2035.

However, CEO David Potts said it was still reliant on grid decarbonisation to move at a quicker pace as well as a policy framework that powers investment in green energy.

Independent research by Cornwall Insight has shown grid decarbonisation isn’t happening fast enough, with data predicting less than 60% of the UK’s energy will be from renewable generation by 2030.

However, the government has pledged to decarbonising electricity generation by 2035 to support its wider net zero goal, which would require renewables to make up over 70% of energy sourcing by then, according to the Climate Change Committee.

Marks & Spencer CEO Stuart Machin said: “The UK has the potential to really lead the way in renewable generation – not doing so would be a missed opportunity.

“The climate crisis demands urgent action and we want to see the government responding with the same urgency to remove the barriers across planning, investment and pricing.”