Anti-wind UK minister Hayes out

The UK Prime Minister has moved outspokenly anti-wind energy minister John Hayes out of his job.

Hayes – who made himself unpopular with the UK’s renewables sector almost as soon as he was appointed last September – will be replaced by fellow Conservative Michael Fallon at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Fallon is currently a minister in the UK’s Department of Business. He will retain his role in that department, but add Hayes' former portfolio to it, potentially providing a bridge between energy and industrial strategy, and a wider remit for the UK's low-carbon future.

Fallon's first task will be to get up to speed with the complex UK energy legislation currently being steered through the Westminster parliament by his new boss, energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey.

Political opponents immediately questioned whether the workload and complexity of the energy brief was too much to add to Fallon's current job.

Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister for the opposition Labour party, said the UK faces multiple challenges including rebuilding investor confidence and complex negotiations over nuclear power. "How is part-time Minister a help?"

Hayes’ brief but memorable contribution to the clean-energy debate in the UK included briefings to newspapers slamming onshore wind development and telling potential renewables investors that he “won’t be dictated to” over policy.

Davey, a member of the minority Liberal Democrat's in the UK coalition, is unlikely to mourn the departure of Hayes, with whom he was said to have clashed behind the scenes.

Hayes will move from energy to join Prime Minister David Cameron's inner policy team at the Cabinet Office.