Prime Minister, Theresa May, has abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as part of a major ministerial and departmental reshuffle.
The news came on July 14, 2016 that the energy policy would now fall under the newly created Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
There is also a new face, with Greg Clark as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Phil Hurley, managing director at NIBE, brands the surprise decision as ‘unsettling’, especially in the context of the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) – and reiterates the importance of building a market that can thrive without subsidies.
Phil said: “The announcement about the abolition of DECC was unexpected, to say the least. Following the welcome boost provided by the launch of the RHI in 2014, this decision could throw the industry into a renewed state of uncertainty. It would be wrong to say that we at NIBE have no concerns about the potential implications of this for renewable heat in the UK – particularly as it comes during a pivotal RHI consultation period. However, regardless of the political situation, the long-term cost – and energy-saving benefits of renewable heating technologies are inescapable.
“The fact remains that the UK is legally bound by statute to honour its 2030 carbon reduction targets, and technologies like heat pumps will be integral to ensuring this happens. That said, the news does leave plenty of room for speculation about the specific focus of the government’s future energy strategy. While the Prime Minister made it clear in her speech that fuel security and lower bills will be key priorities, what was noticeably absent was any mention of decarbonisation – and at NIBE, we find this potentially unsettling.
“As a leading manufacturer, we urge the newly formed cabinet not to overlook the vital importance of demand-side reduction in shrinking our collective carbon footprint in line with targets. Outside Parliament, we’re asking the renewable heating industry not to lose focus. Yes, the RHI and other government initiatives have been major market drivers – but what we need to do now is pull together to ensure renewables flourish on their own merit. At NIBE, we remain fully committed to their capabilities, and their role in building a lower-carbon future for the UK.”
Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, said: “It is a great shame that a department directly focused on the critical issues of energy and climate change is to close, but a joined up business, industrial strategy and energy approach could provide huge opportunities for solar in the UK, as can be seen in many countries across the world.”
Greg Clark 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.”