Dramatic Changes Unlikely at the DECC
Davey, who was officially appointed on the 3rd of February, has said that he will continue with Huhne’s main plans. His first statement, published today, outlines plans for increasing Offshore wind capacity, and “community energy efficiency grants” which include projects to promote insulation and energy efficiency.
He emphasised the UK’s potential to lead the world in clean energy: “I want the UK to be the number one destination for green investment. We’re in this race to win it.”
His first statement emphasised that Davey was trained as an economist, and notes the importance of “marrying” environmental and economic agendas. He notes that low carbon industries could reduce the UK’s dependence on the City.
Conservatives express concern over Onshore Wind
Over 100 MPs have written to Prime Minister David Cameron to raise concerns over the cost of on-shore Wind subsidies, and the ability of locals to oppose planning permission. This highlights the importance of the wind and renewable energy debate, and the lack of agreement over which methods are the best for investment into the future.
It has been reported that a Downing Street spokesperson has said “onshore wind is a cost effective and valuable part of the UK's diverse energy mix”, implying that the subsidies may be safe, so the main issue might be planning permission, and could be the debate that establishes Ed Davey’s position as DECC Secretary.
Future for Clean Energy Investing and Climate Change Policy
From what we know now, Davey is unlikely to change the DECC policy of reducing the feed-in-tariffs for renewable energy. One of his main projects will be shaping the Green Deal, which aims to improve energy efficiency in the UK. He has also expressed his concerns over high energy bills, and will take policy steps against this.
The Budget, to be announced on the 21st of March 2012, will shape the UK’s fiscal policy, and will have important insight into the future of the UK economy, which in turn will shape UK renewable energy policy. The deadline for the Green Investment Bank is this year, to be delivered by the Department for Business, which will provide funds for industries such as offshore wind, waste processing and energy efficiency. Investors will benefit from more certain renewable energy policy, as companies will then be more able to plan for the future.