Energy ministers in UK shake-up

Greg Barker has left his post as UK energy and climate change minister, as part of a shake-up affecting two senior jobs at the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Barker's fellow energy minister Michael Fallon was today promoted to the UK cabinet as defence secretary, and replaced by Matt Hancock as minister for business, enterprise and energy.

Hancock was formerly skills and enterprise minister.

Amber Rudd also joins DECC as parliamentary under secretary of state, in her first ministerial post.

Rudd replaces Barker, who had been central to the team helping to shape energy policy from the start of the Coalition government that took power in the UK in 2010.

Barker and Fallon left their roles as part of a reshuffle by Prime Minister David Cameron of Conservative ministers in the Coalition ahead of national elections in 2015.

Barker – who also plans to leave parliament after the election – was generally seen as a supportive figure by the renewables sector, with a particular interest in the development of the solar industry.

Fallon had held his energy brief since 2013, during which time he signalled a hardening of Conservative policy over onshore wind and a shift to support shale gas extraction.

The most senior job at DECC, that of energy and climate change secretary, is held by Ed Davey, a member of the junior coalition partner Liberal Democrats and therefore beyond Cameron’s power to change.

Away from DECC, the UK also has a new environment secretary in Liz Truss.

She replaces Owen Paterson, an openly renewables-sceptic figure who was at odds with Davey over the direction of policy on onshore wind.