Amber Rudd’s appointment as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has been warmly welcomed by industry groups this morning, with many adjudging her to have been the best possible option for renewable energies.
Rudd was promoted to the position as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle despite former minister for climate change Matthew Hancock having been hotly tipped for the position.
Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, described Rudd’s promotion as “significant” and said it enforced the Conservative Party’s “commitment to policies based on sound climate science”.
“Just before the election, Ms Rudd recalled the fact that Margaret Thatcher was the first leader of any major nation to call for a United Nations treaty on climate change, and pledged that a Conservative Government would be faithful to Mrs Thatcher’s legacy.
“Logically, that suggests that in the coming months we can expect to see the Government pressing for a strong global deal at the UN climate talks in December, safeguarding cost-effective policies leading to UK decarbonisation and re-invigorating progress in areas that are currently stalled, such as cutting energy waste,” he added.
Karl Harder, co-found and joint managing director at renewables financing firm Abundance Generation, echoed Black’s sentiments and added that Rudd’s appointment would be “welcome news for the industry” because of her “evidence based approach” to her previous role as climate change minister.
British Photovoltaics Association chief executive Reza Shaybani said her appointment confirmed David Cameron’s support for renewable energy to put DECC “in the hands of a very senior member of parliament”, while Renewable Energy Association chief executive Nina Skorupska argued that her appointment would allay fears that UK renewables would suffer at the hands of a future Tory government.
But Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, reiterated warnings that stable policy support is needed if solar is to meet its potential.
“Rudd gets solar, and has often talked about the astonishing success of solar and how popular solar is, and has said in the past that she was watching solar’s performance in the CfD auctions very closely,” he said, revealing that the STA will be addressing Rudd to request a meeting to discuss future goals.
Solarcentury chief executive Frans van den Heuvel also said the industry would have to “remain cautious” because of the “huge influence” the Treasury is to retain over renewable subsidies, but ultimately welcomed Rudd’s appointment. “Her appointment suggests that government policy is not going to go lurching off to the climate sceptic right as many still fear,” he said.
Matthew Hancock’s future as minister for climate change remains unclear however with Cameron yet to confirm a position for him in his reshuffled cabinet. He has been linked to the position as chief secretary to the treasury and if he should receive such a promotion, two new ministers could yet be appointed to DECC in the coming days.