The General Election Result: What does it mean for energy?
The election result last week generated a lot of mixed emotions up and down the country, as well as much speculation as to what this means for the UK over the next few years. There have been many predictions as to what will change now that the Conservatives have full reign and are no longer part of a coalition government. One of the topics most discussed in this respect is the energy market.
In the past five years of Conservative-led government, a lot of positive disruptions and changes have been made to the energy market, making it fairer and more easily navigable for consumers. Some of the changes that the government has made include:
- An increase in the number of suppliers from seven to 21, to generate more competition
- A reduction of the number of tariffs to a maximum of four per supplier, to reduce confusion for consumers
- Halving the time it takes to switch supplier to encourage consumers to engage with the market
- Running nationwide switching campaigns, and generally encouraging consumer to switch.
The Tories have got clear plans for the British energy market for the next five years, too, as outlined in their manifesto. The main pledges that the party make are to:
- Keep energy bills as low as possible
- Promote competition in the energy market
- Ensure homes and businesses have energy supplies they can rely on
- Help to insulate homes
- Meet climate change commitments
- Cut carbon emissions as cheaply as possible.
The manifesto does also highlight a few core actions that the government plans to take in order to fulfil the above promises:
- Install smart meters in every home and business in the country by 2020
- Insulate one million more homes by 2020
- Tackle fuel poverty
- Support development of shale gas
- Halt the spread of onshore windfarms.
With the EU’s climate change targets still firmly in place for 2020, there is, understandably, a focus on green and renewable energy technologies in the future. However, some renewable energy campaigners have concerns over the Conservatives’ energy plans. The primary concern is the effect that halting the development of onshore wind farms will have on the renewable energy industry.
With wind turbines being one of the cheapest forms of green energy, decarbonising the UK’s electricity supply could suffer serious setbacks if the government decides to cut financial support to renewable technologies.
It has also been suggested that the Conservatives are planning to scrap the Department of Energy and Climate Change – or make significant cuts to it – which has only added fuel to the fires of doubt. On top of that, the Tories have openly stated that they intend to support the development of shale gas and fracking – a practice which is also hotly opposed by environmental campaigners. However, the Conservative party insists that they “have been the greenest government ever,” and are committed to long-term goals to cut carbon emissions.
The Conservative government has certainly made positive contributions to reforming the energy market in recent years – it’s virtually undeniable that the market is a much fairer environment for consumers now than it was five years ago. However with the election only just over, it’s perhaps currently unclear just how the government’s intentions will affect the renewable energy sector and the UK energy market overall.
This news was brought to you by UKPower.co.uk.
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