EXCLUSIVE: Renewable energy chief calls for pan-UK ceasefire in Wind v Oil v Gas v Nuclear power wars

Hugh McNeal
Hugh McNeal

A UK renewables industry leader has called for rival energy technologies across the energy sector to work more closely with each other and speak with one voice to maximise job and business opportunities.

Forward thinking, innovation and collaboration of different technologies – offshore and onshore oil & gas, renewables and nuclear – to speak with one over-arching energy voice is already happening in eastern England – , setting an example to the often-polarised national industries, an audience of supply chain companies was told.

Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive, Renewable UK, said the energy industry needed to represent itself as one sector containing different technologies. His audience included national leaders representing offshore oil & gas, nuclear, renewables and onshore oil & gas from all corners of the UK.

Speaking to an audience of offshore wind, oil & gas and nuclear leaders and supply chain companies, he said: “In a post-Brexit world, we can’t afford to focus inwards and focus on the value of different technologies.

“We have to focus on supporting you to grow all of your businesses,” he told supply chain companies at the biggest all-energy event in the east of England.

“All of us who work in energy must work together and we must take responsibility to end public attacks on one technology or another.

“There needs to be an end to political parties supporting one technology over another.

“We need a balanced approach – one which recognises business and employment opportunities from all energy sectors across the UK.

“It is unique in this part of the world –  in eastern England – you uniquely represent all of these sectors so it’s even more important here and it is clear that you already embrace this in the east.”

He congratulated the all-sector East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) for mixing networking opportunities with serious policy debate at its North Sea conference, Opportunities through Energy Transition. He added:

“An end to playing for political advantage at the expense of other sectors is especially important now the industry needs to maximise every opportunity.

“The UK energy industry could learn a lot from the “forward thinking” east of England.

“There is much to be learned from the unique all-energy mix of the East of England and how a single energy voice can speak for different technologies, he added.

Ken Cronin
Ken Cronin

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UK Onshore Oil & Gas (UKOOG), congratulated EEEGR for gathering all national leaders on one stage – “something none of us have managed to achieve.” He added that the polarisation of energy sectors confused customers.

Just last week in Norway, the county’s two leading trade associations for the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors combined to form a single, globally-focussed, combined energy industry body aimed at promoting Norway’s entire energy industry. The move is also supported by the Government in Oslo.

In Scotland, however – with the notable exception of the Scottish Energy Association – there is little sign (if any) of such a mature understanding or all-energy approach.

The Aberdeen-based Oil and Gas UK trade body only formed a mutual understanding pact last year after the all-sector East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) began its WOG (wind, oil and gas) campaign to market Norfolk and Great Yarmouth.

It is interesting to note that the wind-dominated Scottish Renewables trade body is presently seeking to recruit a new chief executive after either ignoring rival renewable energy bodies or alternatively trying to take them over.

See also:

Govt. Energy Dept, the N. Sea oil and gas association and renewable energy bodies unite to form a combined body to promote all-energy sectors in overseas markets …(in Norway)


Meanwhile, Renewables UK has commented on the Chancellor’s Budget statement announcing that the Levy Control Framework will be replaced by a new set of controls to be set out later in the year.

A spokesman added: “We’re keen to work with Government on the new set of controls which are to replace the Levy Control Framework.

“Energy infrastructure takes time to build. Projects being thought about today will come on line in the 2020s, after the period covered by the LCF expires. We need to ensure that developers and investors in wind, wave and tidal energy projects have certainty so that projects can be built, economic returns can flow and consumers can benefit from the low cost of renewables”.

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