Renewable sector welcomes new British Energy Minister, but SNP puzzled by abolition of DECC

Greg Clark, newly-appointed British Business and Energy Minister.
Greg Clark, newly-appointed British Business and Energy Minister.

New Prime Minister Theresa May has today abolished the Dept for Energy (DECC) and merged it with a newly-re-named Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (D-BEIS)

She has also appointed MP Greg Clark as the new Secretary of State for business and energy.

The previous day, May had promoted the then Energy Secretary Amber Rudd to the new PM’s former jobs as British Home Secretary.

And today May has also promoted former Junior Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom – who pulled out of the Tory party leadership race to hand victory to May – as the new Secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Angus MacNeil, MP
Angus MacNeil, MP

Commenting on the abolition of DECC, SNP MP Angus MacNeil, Chairman of the Commons Energy Committee, said:

“The Government has announced that it will abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change and transfer its functions to other Government Departments, notably the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The exact details remain unclear.

 “The immediate impact of the <British Independence> vote to leave <the EU-bloc> has been to amplify uncertainty at a time when major investment is needed to deliver affordable, clean and secure energy.

“In this context, I am astonished at the Prime Minister’s decision to abolish DECC.

“My Committee’s reports have recently identified serious concerns about reduced investor confidence in the UK energy sector.

“A historic agreement at COP21 in Paris last November still requires ratification, and the fifth carbon budget is still yet to be set in law.

“DECC’s disappearance raises urgent questions. To whom falls the central statutory obligation, contained in the Climate Change Act 2008, to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 80% from their 1990 baseline?

“Which Department will take responsibility for the energy and climate aspects of negotiations to leave the EU? Who will champion decarbonisation in Cabinet? Who will drive innovation in the energy sector?

“Over the coming weeks, I will speak to colleagues to explore how we can ensure that effective parliamentary scrutiny on the crucial issues of energy and climate change continues.”

Angus Robertson, MP, the SNP’s Westminster Leader, added: “The news that the Department for Energy and Climate Change is being merged with Business, Innovation and Skills, is also particularly worrying given the current challenges facing the energy sector.”

A spokesman for the Renewable Energy Association Britain’s biggest trade body for the industry – commented: “We are delighted Greg Clark has been appointed the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

“He previously showed real vision as the Shadow Energy Secretary and we look forward to working with him once again in order to get things moving on the deployment of new renewable energy infrastructure.”

A spokesman for Aberdeen-based Oil and Gas UK, said: “We look forward to meeting with Mr Clark as soon as possible to discuss the challenges our industry is facing and the opportunities the North Sea offers both for business growth and ensuring a secure energy supply for the UK.

“We very much welcomed the joined-up approach taken by the previous government and we hope ministers will continue to work together across the relevant departments to support our sector.”

Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, Kent, served as English Local Government Minister in David Cameron’s government for 11 months, and for the 11 months prior to that, he was a junior Minister in the same (Trade & Industry) department to which he has now been promoted as Secretary.

Clark’s Department issued a statement last night re-affirming the ‘new’ British energy policies are the same as under DECC – ie ’ensuring that the country has secure energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department, charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading Government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.”

  • Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to meet Prime Minister May on Friday (15 Jul) in Edinburgh, where she will discuss Scottish Independence from the UK after the UK vote in favour offBritish Independence from the EU.

 

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed