Industry reactions have been mostly positive following Amber Rudd’s appointment as the new energy secretary.
Solar Trade Association (STA) chief executive Paul Barwell said: “We very much welcome Ms Rudd’s appointment as secretary of state for energy and climate change and look forward to working with her to make sure solar reaches its full potential. We need stable policy support and strong leadership on solar – just one final push could get rooftop solar to zero subsidy by the time this government leaves office.”
Mr Barwell said the STA hoped that Ms Rudd’s experience in finance and in the Treasury and her real understanding of the needs of new and growing businesses would mean that she could see the value that the UK’s thousands of small and medium-sized solar companies could bring.
He added: “Rudd gets solar and has often talked about the astonishing success of solar and how popular it is, and has said in the past that she was watching solar’s performance in the [Contracts for Difference] auctions very closely.”
RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “We are pleased to see continuity at the Department following her role as energy minister in the previous government.
“We welcome the positive commitments that she has made on reducing carbon emissions, tackling climate change and protecting the environment.”
She added that Renewable UK was looking forward to working with Ms Rudd and “showing how all the technologies we represent – onshore wind, offshore wind and wave and tidal energy – can help achieve these aims”, as well as providing energy security and financial growth for the UK.
Renewable Energy Association chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said that Ms Rudd had been a “champion” of renewables and the low-carbon economy over the past year, and that her appointment would help allay the fears some may have after the general election.
She added: “We look forward to continue working with her on some of the pressing challenges ahead, ensuring we meet our targets in the most efficient way, laying the foundations for post-2020 and making sure the UK is leading the way in green jobs and cost-effective renewables.”
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said that in her previous role as climate change minister Ms Rudd clearly demonstrated that she understood the business case for energy efficiency and had a strong commitment to tackle climate change: “Her appointment is important as it not only represents much-needed continuity between the previous and new regimes on environmental issues, but hopefully indicates the direction of travel of this Conservative government on the green economy and climate change. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with her.”
Solarcentury founder Jeremy Leggett said: “I think Amber’s experience to date will tend her to the view that the government has little option in energy but to pursue a green industrial revolution, however the climate argument pans out with the Conservative Right.
“The shale narrative is coming off the rails in the US and the nuclear industry is fighting a lethal wound in France that means new UK nuclear is now impossible. There is nowhere left to go. And meanwhile, the clean energy revolution becomes more credible with every passing day in Silicon Valley and China.”
Friends of the Earth senior climate change campaigner Simon Bullock said: “Ahead of crucial climate talks in Paris, the UK government must listen to the majority of Conservative voters, along with the rest of the society, who want their government to take action on climate change.
“Ms Rudd has already acknowledged the need to boost renewables and increase investment in energy efficiency – and importantly she recognises the devastating effect that climate change will have without action.
“Her department now needs to make urgent decisions to get the UK off fossil fuels, not least by phasing out dirty coal, and reducing our energy demand and carbon emissions through major investment in energy efficiency and clean renewable power.”