The energy industry has welcomed the newly appointed Energy Minister, referring to him as “effective and no-nonsense” and one who will work towards a green and low carbon economy.
Those are some of the views from industry groups following Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement today of replacing John Hayes with Michael Fallon (pictured) as Energy Minister. The news comes only a few months of Mr Hayes, who will now become a political and parliamentary adviser to the Prime Minister, replacing Charles Hendry as Energy Minister.
Mr Fallon is currently a Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and will be working in that role in addition to becoming a Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Jeremy Nicholson, Director at the Energy Intensive Users Group told ELN: “Energy intensive users have been extremely impressed by Michael Fallon in his role as BIS Minister and I have no doubt he’ll make an excellent Energy Minister too. It may seem strange to have yet another change in Energy Minister at this particular point when the Energy Bill is passing through Parliament but Michael Fallon is very familiar with issues on energy security and competitiveness and was involved in discussions with the Treasury about the recently announced exemptions from the climate change levy for certain intensive industries confirmed in the Budget.
“I think he’s an articulate, effective and no-nonsense Minister who will be resolutely focused on security of supply and competitiveness.”
Referring to the two roles to be handled by Michael Fallon, Mr Nicholson told ELN: “Clearly from energy consumers’ perspective, it’s the DECC role that is most important. I would imagine the dual role would not continue indefinitely but we’ll have to see about that.”
However, a spokesperson from BIS confirmed that Mr Fallon would be a joint Minister indefinitely and would handle both departments effectively. The spokesperson told ELN: “There is a real crossover between the two departments already”.
The new Energy Minister is believed to be an advocate for renewable energy, which was welcomed by RenewableUK. Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said: “Renewables will play a major role in green growth – and we are delighted that today’s announcement recognises that. Michael Fallon’s dual role will ensure that two major Government departments – Energy and Business – will work even more closely together in order to deliver tens of thousands of low-carbon jobs.
“Just last month, Mr Fallon spoke of a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop a new offshore renewable energy industry’ in the UK. We welcome his appointment and look forward to working with him to deliver the unprecedented economic and environmental benefits the wind industry has to offer to Britain, onshore and offshore”.
The trade association for the energy industry also welcomed the new Minister and said it enjoyed working with John Hayes and his “refreshing approach”.
Chief Executive Angela Knight added: “Much has changed over the last few months in the energy sector. We now have an Energy Bill making its way through Parliament which is a very positive step. We need to attract investment into this country, build our new power stations and keep energy as affordable as possible for consumers. We look forward to working with Michael and together bring the drive and impetus needed to resolve our growing energy challenge.”