There has been a generally positive if slightly cautious response from industry to this week’s ministerial reshuffle, which saw significant changes at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
Amber Rudd was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DECC, effectively replacing Greg Barker, whilst Matt Hancock replaced outgoing Energy Minister Michael Fallon. The appointment of two of George Osborne’s allies has been taken by some observers to suggest The Chancellor is seeking to exert greater control over DECC spending. However, Energy Secretary Ed Davey described Mr. Hancock and Ms. Rudd as ‘enormous assets’ and claimed the Coalition Government remained comitted to decarbonising the UK’s energy supply.
Following his departure from DECC, The Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska paid tribute to Greg Barker. Reflecting upon his tenure at DECC, Dr. Skorupska said, “Greg Barker was the only DECC Minister to have been in post since the last election. Not only did he bring stability to the department, he also brought passion and enthusiasm. Although during his stewardship he had to make tough decisions we didn’t agree with, there is no doubt that Greg was a champion for green business. I hope he continues to be an advocate for a low carbon economy, ensuring the UK’s energy supply is sustainable and secure.
Dr. Skorupska added, “We look forward to working with Matt Hancock, Amber Rudd, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Claire Perry and John Hayes, who all landed key positions in today’s reshuffle, to seize the opportunities for new investments and jobs in renewable power, heating and transport fuels.”
Commenting upon Amber Rudd’s appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change, effectively the same portfolio previously held by Greg Barker as Minister of State at DECC, Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council said, “This is one of the most important briefs in Government and Amber Rudd can’t simply run out the clock to the Election. There are of some vitally important pieces of policy that need action in this Parliament, not least the promised mandatory energy performance standards for some of the UK’s most inefficient buildings.
“Greg Barker provided unstinting support for climate and energy policy in a very difficult political and economic climate and will leave a big hole in Government. But we look forward to working with the new Parliamentary Under Secretary to transform the energy efficiency and affordability of the UK’s building stock.
“We also look forward to working with Matt Hancock to build the business case for green construction, in which cost and carbon savings go hand in hand with better and more productive buildings.”
Giving the solid fuel industry’s views on the changes at DECC, HETAS’s Marketing Manager Alun Williams said, “HETAS thanks Greg Barker for his hard work as the longest serving minister for energy and climate and we look forward to continuing our work with government, DECC and their team to make RHI a success.”