Within hours of moving in to No.10, the new Prime Minister – Theresa May – has restructured her staff and departments, including the abolition of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that gave the renewables industry a platform for growth to help tackle climate change when it was first established back in 2008 by Gordon Brown.
The policies and responsibilities of DECC will now fall under a newly created ‘Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’, led by the appointed Secretary of State, Greg Clark. The new department will also combine the responsibilities of another abolished department; The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will focus on a broad range of responsibilities including business, industrial strategy, science, innovation, energy and climate change.
Split opinions
The move has already attracted criticism from former DECC ministers and Green parties suggesting that the abolition of DECC reflects that addressing climate change is now a low priority for the Government when it should be one of the highest. They also fear that the move could give the wrong signal to the rest of the World that the UK isn’t serious about contributing to the combined effort of reducing carbon emissions globally, with particular reference to the recent COP21 agreement.
However, other ministers and green groups welcomed the move saying that the change could offer fresh opportunity to implement new strategies for tackling climate change and supporting further renewable deployment.
In recent months, DECC have been criticised for putting a halt to the growth of renewable deployment, solar in particular, after recently removing ROC support and inflicting heavy cuts to the feed-in tariff during a time when the growth rate of the sector was encouraging.
In reality, time will be the biggest indicator of whether the reshuffle will produce the results needed to tackle the threat of climate change. The renewables industry waits in anticipation that support will arrive sooner rather than later.