Current affairs

Guest columnist Bill Wright, head of energy solutions, Electrical Contractors’ Association, pens a brief letter to new energy secretary Amber Rudd

Welcome to your new role, one of the most important within the UK government. You are ultimately responsible for ‘keeping the lights on’, keeping the price down, reducing our reliance on energy and reducing our emissions – a very tall order.

Energy should be as inexpensive as possible, a natural enough request. Although the more expensive the energy the less that will be used and the more efficient we will become at using it. This is very difficult to achieve to the satisfaction of all, especially as we are committed to energy and emission reduction.

The need to provide renewable energy should be one of your first priorities.  Solar PV, wind, biomass, heat pumps and hydro systems are all within the portfolio of power sources used in the UK. Existing policies have provided a boost to this provision but there has not been a stable policy that would encourage long term investment on a scale sufficient to provide the energy needed to meet our commitments.  There has been a stop – go policy in the past exemplified by that towards the PV industry.

The industry is now recovering from sharp tariff cuts but is now at a much lower level. Now we have more uncertainty as the emphasis from government is towards rooftop solar rather than solar farms which were previously encouraged.

The same can be said of the wind energy business where the emphasis switches between land and offshore based systems.

The RHI has been better managed with tariffs people understand and reductions in tariffs according to the growth of the industry. More of this please.

I wish you every success in your new role.