Rudd: I have the confidence of the renewables sector

Energy secretary Amber Rudd has insisted she has the confidence of the renewable energy sector despite her party’s slew of subsidy cuts.

Rudd made the comments during yesterday’s select committee enquiry when she was grilled on the content of emails leaked to The Ecologist on Monday afternoon, revealing that the UK risks falling behind its 2020 renewables targets despite her assertions to the contrary.

The leak triggered an online petition calling for a vote of no confidence in the secretary of state, but Rudd remained defiant that she still had the sector’s backing.

“They [the renewables sector] speak to me in fairly strong terms sometimes about the fact that subsidies are being changed, but I have been very clear that this government has to provide value for money.

“We will continue to encourage renewable electricity and indeed renewable energy by working across departments, but we will always make sure we do so with value for money,” she said.

While Rudd may believe she has the confidence of the UK’s renewable energy market, the same can perhaps not be said on an international stage. This morning the World Energy Council downgraded the UK’s energy supplier status to ‘AAB’ amidst policy uncertainty, following EY taking the UK out of its RECAI top 10 for the first time in September.

But Alasdair Cameron, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, dismissed Rudd’s claims. “So far this government has been nothing but bad news for renewables, particularly decentralised technologies, and any success the sector still has will be firmly in spite of recent policy,” he said.

“Everyone from the CBI to Ernst and Young has criticised the recent policy changes on renewables. The Prime Minister needs to work with DECC and the Treasury to boost sustainable and deployable options like wind, offshore wind and solar – and rethink the disastrous cuts to the feed-in tariff,” Cameron added.