Conservatives win General Election: Industry responds

What does the energy sector think the result will mean for the future?

The Conservative Party has won the General Election by a majority landslide – but what does the energy sector think of the news?

The party secured 364 seats across the country, compared to Labour’s 203 – it took the largest majority it has seen since 1987, while the left-wing party suffered its worst result in more than 80 years.

Need to focus on net zero goals

Matthew Vickers, CEO at the Energy Ombudsman, said: “The transition to net zero is one of the critical infrastructure challenges facing the new government.”

He added consumers and SMEs must be protected, as their trust and confidence are needed to underpin successful innovation and investment in essential services.

Conservatives must decarbonise the economy

The REA stresses the climate emergency is the biggest challenge that the UK faces and notes this is the “pivotal moment”.

It adds: “The new government must now implement credible policy to decarbonise the economy in line with our net zero targets.

“We welcome the Conservatives’ commitment to achieve net zero targets, as set out in their manifesto.
However, to achieve this, the new government must be more ambitious and commit to wholesale systems change across energy, in particular for transport and waste, required to unleash the full potential of renewable energy and clean technology.”

Energy policy hiatus must be broken

Energy UK’s Director of Policy, Audrey Gallacher, said: “While Brexit will continue to dominate the political agenda – and there will be important issues to now focus on as we look to the future relationship with Europe – we must also quickly break the hiatus in energy policy, therefore it is welcome to hear the continued commitment from the Prime Minister to delivering net-zero emissions by 2050.”

He added the energy sector is committed to working in partnership with government and other industries to “go further and faster in the decarbonisation of our economy” and warned there is no time to waste.

The organisation said: “We look forward to seeing clear policy direction from the government which will allow the investment and innovation to follow.“

Government must support off-grid heating

UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) Chief Executive Guy Pulham said: “We are looking forward to working with the Prime Minister and the government in developing a pathway for off-grid heating in rural communities to help to achieve ambitions for a net-zero carbon economy.”

However, he warned rural communities must not be put at a disadvantage and stressed large-scale electrification through the use of heat pumps is not the answer.

He suggested: “Government need to look at alternatives as this is not feasible, due to high installation and running costs of installing heat pumps, for off-grid homeowners.

“Recognising fuel poverty levels in the UK are already too high, we believe that different solutions will suit different homes and budgets. We will be lobbying the new government to implement policy that should be focussed on ensuring that ‘heating systems are appropriate to properties heating requirements’ while clearly demonstrating both carbon abatements and strong particle emission controls.”

Businesses can finally have clarity

Paul Sheffield, Managing Director of Drax Customers, said: “Businesses will likely be seeking advice on how they can mitigate the risk of disruption caused by the UK leaving the European Union. Now that a deal has been agreed and we know we’ll be leaving in January, businesses finally have clarity and can plan accordingly.”

He advised one way to reduce the potential impact of rising electricity prices is to fix the unit cost of electricity, which helps businesses forecast costs for the duration of the contract.

Manifesto commitments are welcome news

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Scottish Renewables welcomed the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitments to deliver two million new jobs in clean energy over the next decade and to increase ambition for our world-leading offshore wind sector.

“However our industry still lacks the clarity it needs to progress in key areas: onshore wind and large solar PV’s access to the energy market, the future of renewable heat and a plan for small-scale renewables, among others.”

Election does not change the fact challenges remain

Sue Ferns, Prospect’s Senior Deputy General Secretary, said: “The country is facing long-term challenges in energy where expansion of supply and decarbonisation are urgent needs and this election does not change that reality.

“After years of inaction and delay, the government must now come forward with an Energy White Paper including a plan to rapidly expand the deployment of renewables and finance the new nuclear power stations we need to achieve our climate objectives.”

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