Michael Fallon (pictured) told the business and energy community not to worry today and suggested he was perfectly well equipped to multi-task in his new brief as both Business and Energy Minister.
Eyebrows were raised in March when the Tory MP took up the energy role on top of his existing duties when John Hayes became the Prime Minister’s advisor in a mini-reshuffle. Instead of getting another minister wholly devoted to energy, DECC has to share Mr Fallon with the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) department.
In an interview with ELN, Mr Fallon said energy and business are “two sides of the same coin” and suggested working with two departments meant he was better equipped to deal with both.
He told ELN: “Energy is absolutely essential to economic growth and my job at BIS is to get behind business and industry and a key part of that is ensuring that industry has the energy it needs at reliable prices and that we get the investment we need in the infrastructure we require to deliver a better energy mix in the future. So I don’t see these two things as opposites.
“On the contrary, we need to now deliver a faster economic growth by ensuring that businesses have access to a good energy mix and ensuring those companies that want to develop now are able to do so through a strong regulatory framework and able to contribute to the renewal of our energy infrastructure.”
His Tory predecessor was known for bold opinions on wind turbines, criticising them in his own constituency before the few months’ stint as Energy Minister. Although both he and Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey denied this compromised his role there were still rumours of a split over renewable energy policy between the Coalition partners.
Emphasising there is “no schism” in the Department, Mr Fallon went on: “We all want to see a mix of energy that means obviously continuing the contribution that oil and gas are making to our energy mix, encouraging new forms of generation as well as some more gas generation, new nuclear ensuring that we have now firm proposals from the consortium that are lining up to build new nuclear stations and of course a contribution from renewables.”