Phil Hurley, managing director at leading renewable heating manufacturer NIBE, brands the surprise decision to abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as ‘unsettling’, especially in the context of the RHI – and reiterates the importance of building a market that can thrive without subsidies.
Prime Minister Theresa May abolished the department as part of a major ministerial and departmental reshuffle. Energy policy will now fall under the newly created Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Phil comments: “The announcement about the abolition of DECC was unexpected, to say the least. Following the welcome boost provided by the launch of the RHI in 2014, this decision could throw the industry into a renewed state of uncertainty. It would be wrong to say that we at NIBE have no concerns about the potential implications of this for renewable heat in the UK – particularly as it comes during a pivotal RHI consultation period. However, regardless of the political situation, the long-term cost- and energy-saving benefits of renewable heating technologies are inescapable.
“The fact remains that the UK is legally bound by statute to honour its 2030 carbon reduction targets, and technologies like heat pumps will be integral to ensuring this happens. That said, yesterday’s news does leave plenty of room for speculation about the specific focus of the government’s future energy strategy. While the prime minister made it clear in her speech that fuel security and lower bills will be key priorities, what was noticeably absent was any mention of decarbonisation – and at NIBE, we find this potentially unsettling.
“As a leading manufacturer, we urge the newly formed cabinet not to overlook the vital importance of demand-side reduction in shrinking our collective carbon footprint in line with targets. Outside Parliament, we’re asking the renewable heating industry not to lose focus. Yes, the RHI and other government initiatives have been major market drivers – but what we need to do now is pull together to ensure renewables flourish on their own merit. At NIBE, we remain fully committed to their capabilities, and their role in building a lower-carbon future for the UK.”