Five years ago it was “vote blue, go green” and to an extent the Lib Dems kept to that motto. Now that we have a Conservative majority government, we shall see what they promise to do over the next five years.
So far they have set up the Green Investment Bank, signed the first nuclear deal in a generation, oversaw renewable energy generation more than double, and brought in legislation for energy efficiency standards in domestic housing.
However, the future looks very murky for energy. It has been made clear that Conservatives wish to end subsidies for all new onshore wind farms “unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires,” according to the manifesto. A fair argument, considering they are causing energy bills to rise.
A big fear is the promised referendum regarding EU membership. If the UK were to break away from Europe, this would cause a huge headache for energy companies across the supply chain. Europe is more interconnected than ever regarding power and gas, with cables soon to go through the Eurotunnel as well as gas pipelines that supply mainland Europe running through the country.
Shale gas will get unequivocal support, to the extent of a Norwegian style reinvestment programme. “We will create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, so that the shale gas resources of the North are used to invest in the future of the North,” laid out the Conservatives in the manifesto. A solid investment case, so long as shale gas proves to be extracted safely, the only true obstacle to its development.
Overall, with a majority single-party, politics isn’t dead, and the Conservatives are free to govern as they please. One policy all of us can be glad will not happen is Labour’s 20-month price freeze.