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Wind industry urges Prime Minister to get a grip on energy policy

14 November 2012

RenewableUK, the trade and professional body representing the wind, wave and tidal energy industries, is urging the Prime Minister to get a firmer grip on energy policy, after two Conservative MPs, including the Energy Minister John Hayes, sought to undermine the renewables sector.

Last night on Channel 4 News, Mr Hayes repeated his view that no more applications for onshore wind farms should enter the planning system – despite being told by his boss, the Energy Secretary Edward Davey, that his views do not represent Government policy, when he first made them a fortnight ago.

This morning The Guardian reported that the Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris has been offering covert support to an anti-wind farm campaigner who had announced plans to stand in the upcoming Corby by-election – even though Mr Heaton-Harris was supposed to be running the campaign of the official Tory candidate instead.

RenewableUK Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said:

"The Energy Minister's comments risk undermining investor confidence, jeopardising much-needed renewable energy projects and the many thousands of jobs they would create throughout the UK. This is a deliberate attempt to recklessly re-write coalition policy just before the most significant Government intervention in the energy markets for a generation – the publication of the Energy Bill later this month. The Energy Secretary Edward Davey, has made it clear that Mr Hayes’s views do not represent Government policy, and the Prime Minister has offered reassurances that Government policy on renewables remains unchanged.

“As for Chris Heaton-Harris campaigning behind his party’s back on behalf of a rival, it beggars belief that such behaviour should pass unnoticed by his leader.”

“It is now critical that Mr Cameron stops this policy brinkmanship and sends a clear message to all investors that his Government is absolutely committed to providing stability for the entire energy sector – otherwise investment could be lost in all forms of power generation - not just in renewables. On matters as crucial as keeping the lights on and homes warm while tackling climate change, we cannot afford to play “push-me-pull-you” politics.”

Notes:

  1. Today’s Guardian story on Chris Heaton-Harris can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/nov/13/tory-mp-corby-anti-windfarm-film
  2. Speaking to The Guardian on 31st October, Tony Whitehead, director of policy at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: "The large investment and long time-scales involved in all types of energy generation need consistent, long-term, energy policies. Short-term uncertainty around UK energy policy, as we have seen in the last couple of days, is very unhelpful and has the potential to result in increased prices for consumers and delay much needed investment in all forms of energy infrastructure. It can also stop investment in new UK jobs. Remarks about wind power also affect gas, nuclear and other investments."
  3. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 675 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK.

 

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RenewableUK is the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, specialising in onshore wind, offshore wind and wave & tidal energy. Formed in 1978, we have an established, large corporate membership ranging from small independent companies, to large international corporations and manufacturers. Acting as a central point of information and a united, representative voice for our membership, we conduct research; find solutions; organise events, facilitate business development, and promote wind and marine renewables to government, industry, the media and the public. Our vision is for renewable energy to play a leading role in powering the UK.