Will a Conservative victory be a blow to the UK’s sustainable energy industry?

Shares in energy firms might have risen since the Tories gained a majority in the general election, but campaigners are warning the victory will be detrimental to the nation’s green energy sector. Energy Switcheroo explores…

Worry over Government energy intentions

Fear amongst the opposition, to the Conservatives’ intention of scrapping subsidies in future crucial renewable energy projects, and possible expansion of shale gas investigation, has led to heated debate.

At the heart of the disagreement is the onshore wind farm saga. Seen by some as an expensive and ineffective eyesore, others feel onshore wind farms are the future, and cheaper alternative to conventional power sources.

Nothing has yet been decided, but as back in 2013 David Cameron referred to this form as “Green Crap”, it is fairly evident that there will be significant changes before long. There is even fear that the Conservatives could scrap the Department of Energy and Climate Change. At the very least it may get demoted into another department, such as Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Industry as a whole has concerns that low carbon technologies, such as Solar and Hydro will also see further cuts. Europe was recently blocked from imposing targets on Britain for the proportion of renewable energy that it must generate by 2020, a sign that Cameron does not feel we could meet those requirement totals. A previous commitment of 15% is still just about on target.

Further Government Intentions for future energy development

The Government has stressed the need for better energy efficiency with what we have, rather than inventing costly new ways that may or may not work, without billions of pounds being poured into research; they say every system must be “Cost Effective”.

The new Energy Secretary is Amber Rudd, a Climate Minister, who is very much seen as pro-Green. Her initial comments have been in championing solar panels on the roofs of many more homes. Excess energy produced is expected to be sold back to the national grid.

However, this is an idea some other countries are considering abandoning, due to suffering national energy profits. Whereas Spain once offered money to companies who set up solar power programmes, it now plans to slap a charge on anyone who creates their energy for personal consumption, many have been dissuaded by the potential €60 million fines they face for illegally generating their own solar power.

Here in Britain about 640,000 homes have panels installed. The annual cost of the original subsidy scheme paid out is in excess of £800 million per year, that is approximately twice the level originally expected.

Amber Rudd is also very much in favour of energy company switching in order for consumers to get the best deal.

Following on from the Conservative’s victory in the general election, shares in almost all energy companies rose. The Big Six energy companies were no doubt quite relieved that they would not have the price freeze that was threatened by the opposition, should they have gained power.