On Friday morning the nation awoke to perhaps the most surprising election result since the 1992 General Election. From an Energy UK perspective we immediately set about analysing what the new majority government would mean for the future of energy policy in the UK.
It wouldn’t be controversial to say that the Conservatives probably had the least detailed energy policy of all the major political parties prior to the election. On the one hand it is challenging for its lack of detailed policy; while on the other it could be seen as a positive indication that the government does not plan to embark on any major reforms of the energy market providing the industry with the stability it requires.
One energy proposal in the Conservative Manifesto was the commitment to ending subsidies for onshore wind and providing local communities with the power to veto new developments. Onshore wind, arguably one of the most cost-efficient renewable technologies, has an important part to play in the path towards a decarbonised energy mix and, although everyone in the industry would like to move towards grid-parity, removing subsidies too soon could have a detrimental impact on a growing, clean technology.
On the retail side of the industry, the government’s commitment to a further one million homes receiving energy efficiency measures by 2020 is widely welcomed. There are, however, questions over the future of the able-to-pay market for energy efficiency with the government almost certain to consider a rethink of the Green Deal policy. The delivery of the smart meter roll-out will also, undoubtedly, be a major feature of energy policy over the next five years, with its potential to revolutionise both competition in the market and the way in which people engage in their energy usage.
With the uncertainty which was felt in the lead up to the election now over, the work now begins for the new government, in partnership with industry and consumers, to deliver a secure, decarbonised supply of cost efficient energy – an objective which is in the UK’s national interest.