As part of Prime Minister Gordan’s reshuffle, a new department was created that is likely to boost growth in the renewable energy industry, while addressing climate change.
The UK is a country that is particularly vulnerable to the affects of climate change and has identified it as an issue of vital national importance. The EU’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 could reduce the severity of this predicament, but requires significant action. As an attempt to bridge the gap between energy strategy and climate change policy, the UK has created a new department.
Energy and climate change were two topics previously addressed by separate teams. “Combining them may help identify both synergies and trade-offs, but we must avoid either one becoming subordinate to the other,” said Dr Neil Bentley, the CBI director of business environment.”
“The new department puts climate change where it belongs, with its own seat at the cabinet table,” said Stephen Hale, Director of the think-tank the Green Alliance.
Ed Miliband was named head of the new department. He is the younger brother of David Miliband, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
In 2005, just 1.3% of the electricity consumed in the UK was generated from renewable energy. The UK now has a target of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. This goal will be a stretch for the country and will help fuel a European renewable energy boom.
A tidal barrage across the River Severn could supply 5% of Britain’s electricity and plans for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, the London Array, have been approved. The UK is considered one of the top 5 nations for renewable energy investment by an Ernst and Young study largely because of high renewable energy goals and growing off-shore wind development.
“The industry believes that forming a department which tackles climate change and energy supply at the same time, is the right way forward if the UK is to deliver on the 2020 renewable energy targets. This is an example of joined up thinking we have been calling for, which should make a difference both in terms of reducing UK’s carbon emissions, and ensuring a sustainable and affordable energy future,” Adam Bruce, the British Wind Energy Association’s (BWEA) chairman said.
Creating a new department demonstrates a willingness to integrate environmental issues and energy policy and could serve as a tool for reaching carbon emissions and renewable energy goals.