Skip to main content

What does the new government mean for energy?

By Focus | Posted June 10, 2015

What are the Conservative Party’s plans for energy generation and supply? Focus examines their manifesto promises – and their opposition’s – to find out what to expect for the next five years.

In summary, the Conservative Manifesto promises a secure, affordable energy supply to protect both domestic and business energy users from fluctuating global oil and gas prices.

Emissions and climate change

The Conservatives intend to retain the Climate Change Act and the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees, which they say they’ll keep in mind while pushing for a “strong global climate deal” (See page 57 of the manifesto) before the end of 2015.

Opposing view

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party all support the Climate Change Act as well, though all three parties wanted to add even tougher decarbonisation targets. UKIP planned to repeal the Act along with the European Union’s Large and Medium Combustion Plant Directives.

The energy mix

The Conservatives want the UK to generate more of its own energy. This suggest their support for  building new nuclear and gas power stations, continuing to drill for oil and gas in the North Sea, and supporting the burgeoning shale gas industry – with a promise that communities affected by shale gas drilling (“fracking”), especially the North of England, will share in its spoils.

As for renewables, the party is generally not in favour of supporting the expansion of onshore wind by:

  • ending new public subsidies

  • giving residents near proposed new wind farms the final say over whether they go ahead.


There will be some public funds available for renewable startups, but only “those that clearly represent value for money” (See page 57 of the manifesto).

Opposing view

The Liberal Democrats and UKIP also support shale gas, but without the Conservatives’ explicit community remuneration plans. The Green Party hoped to ban fracking outright.

The Greens and Lib Dems both expressed a desire to phase out coal power. The Greens are not in favour of nuclear as well, and focus on renewables. UKIP would cut all public funding for renewables other than cost-effective hydroelectric plants.

Energy prices

“Healthy competition,” the Conservative Manifesto states, “is the best way to secure a good deal for consumers” (pages 56-7) – and competition is the heart of the party’s policy on prices.

The Competition and Markets Authority is due to publish the results of its investigation into the energy market by December 2015. The Conservatives have promised to implement the Authority’s recommendations in order to promote competition between energy companies.

Opposing view

The Lib Dems planned to use competition-based mechanisms, including a target for 30 percent of the market to supplied by independent companies, to reduce energy bills. UKIP believes green taxes and levies should be abolished to achieve the same effect.

As has been much publicised, Labour promised to freeze energy bills until 2017, allowing them to fall but not rise.

The Conservatives’ majority means that they are the only party in a position to deliver on their energy promises. However, as it is a slim majority the opposition parties’ manifestos may give a hint of the biggest hurdles, with highest profile plans providing Parliamentary debates to come.

As the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd MP will be the one driving that delivery. Keep checking Focus for an upcoming profile on the new Secretary of State.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related articles

November 05, 2015

Energy for Schools: guidance for a complex market with DfE approval

Achieving greater value for money and minimising the issues caused by the complexity of the energy market.