There will be a change of leadership at the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero following the resignation of Ben Wallace as Defence Secretary.
Claire Coutinho has today been appointed as Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. She replaces Grant Shapps, who has been appointed as Defence Secretary by prime minister Rishi Sunak.
Coutinho previously was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education.
“I will work with the Prime Minister to safeguard our energy security, reduce bills for families, and build cleaner, cheaper, homegrown energy,” she wrote on Twitter today.
The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero was created earlier this year. The government said, at the time, that the move was in recognition of the impact of rising energy prices after the start of the war in Ukraine and the need to secure more domestic energy from nuclear and renewables, capitalising on the opportunities of net zero.
Commenting on Coutinho’s appointment, industry group RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail said that urgent intervention is needed from the new Secretary of State to reestablish the UK as the best destination for international investment in renewables, as competitors are raising the stakes.
“There is already a lot of goodwill in the sector towards Claire, who championed offshore wind in her maiden speech in 2020, highlighting our global leadership in this technology. She was also a member of the Conservative Environment Network, which champions the case for moving faster and further on renewables to deliver cheap power for consumers and strengthen our energy security,” he said.