He is set to preside over a full feed-in tariff system and an increased target for renewables generation. The UK, one of the best wind regimes in the world, was plunged into political stasis last month after none of the three major parties won enough seats to form a majority in parliament (see page 67).
The anti-nuclear pro-renewables centre-left Liberal Democrats came a poor third but, having held the balance of power in parliament, were cast as kingmaker. After days of negotiations with both the centre-right Conservative Party, which won most seats, and the centre-left Labour Party, which has governed since 1997 but this time languished in second place, the Liberal Democrats formed an unlikely coalition with the Conservatives.
To form a government with the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives had to offer major concessions to the centre-left party. Among these was an agreement to give the Liberal Democrats major roles within the coalition government, with the energy brief going to Huhne, an advocate of renewable energy and avowed opponent of nuclear power.
The Conservatives support nuclear power but, similar to the outgoing Labour administration, have ruled out any public subsidy for its roll-out, giving doubt to whether any new nuclear power stations will be viable.
As Windpower Monthly went to press, details of the coalition energy policy emerged. While still vague, the government said it would retain Labour's renewables obligation certificates mechanism in some form, while establishing a full feed-in tariff system and upping the national target for renewables generation.