On May 8th 2015 the Conservative Party surprised the nation by winning the general election outright. The Liberal Democrats take the credit for the previous government being the greenest ever, so how will the renewables industry be affected by this result?
The new energy and climate change minister is Amber Rudd, previously the climate change minister. On the agenda is an end to the growth of the onshore wind farm industry, pushing forward with fracking and nuclear power. Ms Rudd will be dealing with the fall out in the reduction in oil prices and the backing of the North Sea oil, while understanding the gas expansion. Ms Rudd will be tasked with negotiating for the UK in the upcoming climate change talks at the end of the year.
‘Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association commented on the appointment of Amber Rudd as Secretary of State-
“Amber Rudd has been a champion of renewables and the low-carbon economy in the past year, and her appointment will do much to allay the fears some may have after the general election”
“We look forward to continue working with her on some of the pressing challenges ahead, ensuring we meet our targets in the most efficient way, laying the foundations for post 2020 and making sure the UK is leading the way in green jobs and cost effective renewables.” ‘– R-E-A.net
In their manifesto, the Tories promised to continue their support of the UK Climate Change Act. In the upcoming Feed-in Tariff (FiT) review the new government will need to make a decision regarding whether to extend the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), for which funding is set to end in April 2016. All RHI tariffs are set for 20 years and are available in their current format until 1 June 2015, when they’re due for the usual quarterly review. Although there is pressure for the new government to balance the books, the reasons that originally led to the RHI are still very much an issue and the RHI will need to remain in place in order to meet the 2020 climate change targets.