Britain’s new PM eliminates Department of Energy & Climate Change

Theresa May

The new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is in, and the U.K.’s Department of Energy & Climate Change is out, leading many to wonder what it means for Britain’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions through means that include hydroelectric power.

Theresa May, leader of Britain’s Conservative Party and a Member of Parliament since 1997, succeeded David Cameron after the former PM announced his resignation in June.

Since then, May made it one of her first acts to abolish the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) by incorporating it under the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, effective July 14.

What May’s decision ultimately means for the U.K. remains to be seen, though critics say the move appears to indicate the new PM does not place a high value on greenhouse gas reduction.

DECC, established by then-PM Gordon Brown in 1998, was intended to lead the U.K.’s climate change initiatives by coordinating policy development, research efforts and incentives for renewables.

Recently approved by DECC were plans for the 320-MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon that, if built would give Wales a significant new source of non-traditional hydroelectric power.

DECC has also provided support for a number of U.K.-based marine hydrokinetics projects, including Minesto and MeyGen Ltd., and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and Severn Estuary tidal energy sites.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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