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What new Energy Minister John Hayes means for green

Who’s the new kid on the block?

wind turbines

The new Energy Minister, John Hayes, will replace the notably pro-renewable Charles Hendry in the run-up to the Energy Bill.

 The announcement, made as part of David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle, signals a significant shift in the Energy Department, presided over by the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

Mr Hayes, the new Energy Minister, has been outspoken against wind farms in particular, and was quoted in 2009 as saying:

“…renewable energy needs to pass the twin tests of environmental and economic sustainability and wind power fails on both counts”

The move comes just as the former minister Charles Hendry was preparing the Energy Bill, the legislation that will determine much of energy policy for years to come.

The Energy Bill is responsible for securing new investment to replace and improve on current generating capacity while maintaining carbon emissions reduction targets and growing the presence of renewable energy as part of the energy mix.

Speaking to the BBC, an insider at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was quoted as saying: “The loss of Charles Hendry is very considerable. It’s an enormous challenge for any new minister coming in as the Energy Bill will be probably the biggest bill to go through the Commons in coming months.”

Meanwhile, Alan Whitehead, a member of the Commons Energy Committee, told the BBC: “There is a shift away from greener ministers in posts towards less green ministers and I think that’s serious.”

The announcement has drawn criticism from some in the renewables sector. Speaking to The Telegraph Doug Parr of Greenpeace said: “You simply can’t be an energy minister while at the same time vehemently opposing wind power which is essential to delivering binding targets.”

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