New UK energy minister brings hope to solar sector, say trade bodies

Amber Rudd has been appointed the U.K.’s new energy minister during a cabinet reshuffle today following last week’s general election that saw the Conservative government unexpectedly sweep into power.

Replacing former Liberal Democrat Ed Davey, Rudd has been welcomed by both the Solar Trade Association (STA) and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) thanks to her championing of renewable in the past.

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the STA, told pv magazine: "In the big scheme of things Rudd’s appointment is good news – she isn’t a climate skeptic and is a fan of solar."

On Twitter, Nina Skorupska, the chief executive of the REA, congratulated Rudd on her appointment, calling it a great way for the new government to allay the fears of the renewable energy industry and show continuity. Rudd had previously been the climate change minister in the coalition government that was disintegrated last week.

Skorupska later issued the following release: "Amber Rudd has been a champion of renewable and the low-carbon economy in the past year, and her appointment will do much to allay the fears some may have after the general election.

"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 U.K. is leading the way in green jobs and cost effective renewables."

Paul Barwell, the STA’s CEO, remarked: "We very much welcome Amber Rudd’s appointment 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."

Barwell added that he hopes Rudd’s previous experience of working in the U.K. Treasury means she will be able to bring a level of financial understanding to the role, and an ability to recognize the pressures and needs of new and growing businesses. "Rudd gets solar, and has often talked about the astonishing success of solar and how popular solar is, and has said in the past that she was watching solar’s performance in the CfD auctions very closely."

The Twittersphere responded positively to Rudd’s appointment too, with former energy secretary Greg Barker calling the appointment a progressive and modern step for the Conservatives.