Current affairs

By guest columnist Bill Wright, head of energy solutions, Electrical Contractors’ Association

The looming General Election makes me think what will happen to the green agenda and renewable energy with the next government?

I think it’s a fair to say the coalition hasn’t been able to deliver the policy agenda that they (and we) would have hoped for. They’ve introduced a range of policies and initiatives, but none of them seem to have hit the mark.

Hopefully the next administration will change that. I’m not going to try and predict the result of May’s election, but there are a couple of outcomes I would hope for from the new administration – whoever forms it.

Firstly, we need different approach to policy around renewables, one that looks at the long-term rather relying on a swathe of short-term initiatives. This industry needs a policy programme that provides some clarity and stability,  particularly as it’s just starting to recover from the FiTs debacle of 2011.

One thing that needs to be urgently addressed is the future of the Green Deal. If it’s going to continue we need to see revisions brought in which (among others) allow for the inclusion of FiTs in the Golden Rule, as this would benefit consumers, the industry and the environment.

The new administration should also run an education campaign to change the incorrect idea that renewables are expensive and don’t deliver decent returns on investment, and this needs to be a priority. After all, you can introduce as many incentives as you like but if the public don’t support or understand what you’re doing you won’t get anywhere – a point I’m sure most politicians would agree with!