The energy revolution and future challenges for UK energy and climate change policy Contents


1.In the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU, we quickly launched calls for evidence to assess the implications on both energy and climate change policy. A week later the new Prime Minister announced the creation of a new Government department, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which brought together all of DECC with parts of the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). While there was no immediate change to our remit, operations or membership, House of Commons committee structures are designed to mirror those in Whitehall. In the short term we continued the crucial role we play in scrutinising the Government’s energy and climate change policies, but we acknowledged that changes to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons would be forthcoming and would likely result in scrutiny of energy and climate change policy falling to a BEIS Committee. The details of these likely changes became clear when the Government tabled a motion in the House of Commons on 15 September to disband our Committee and transfer date our responsibilities to the old BIS Committee, which is to be recast as the new BEIS Committee. The House as a whole agreed to this motion on 11 October, and we will be disbanded effective 17 October.

2.This report brings together our work on three current inquiries—Energy revolution, Leaving the EU: implications for UK climate policy, and Leaving the EU: implications for UK energy policy—along with our reflections on the last year and on potential future scrutiny priorities for our successor committee.

3.Chapter two provides an overview of our ‘Energy revolution’ inquiry, which sought to identify which innovations have the potential to revolutionise the energy sector and how well prepared Government is to deal with the effects of disruptive changes to this sector. We received 118 pieces of written evidence and 41 video submissions to this inquiry highlighting different innovative technologies. These can be accessed via our website.1 We heard from 12 witnesses, and conducted a fact-finding visit to the United States to learn lessons from the successes in this sector in California and Washington State. We are grateful to all those who contributed to this inquiry, met with us in person and took the time to produce online material.

4.Our work on the impact of leaving the EU is less well developed as we have not had time to fully explore the issues through oral evidence sessions. The issue is nonetheless of huge importance and will shape the UK policy environment for years to come. Chapter three provides an overview of the submissions of written evidence we received in response to our inquiries into ‘Leaving the EU: implications for UK climate policy’ and ‘Leaving the EU: implications for UK energy policy’. This chapter does not seek to provide a comprehensive review of all the potential implications. Rather we have tried to focus on the issues most commonly raised by stakeholders and those with the most wide-ranging impacts. We hope that the issues we highlight in this chapter will be explored further by our successors on the BEIS Committee. More detailed views on the implications for energy and climate change policy can be found by referring to all the original written submissions which have been published on our website.2

5.Finally in chapter four, we reflect briefly on our work over the past year and set out our views on some of the potential issues on the horizon for our successor committee. We are grateful to all those who have contributed to our inquiries and to our wider programme of work.

Box 1: Working towards our goals

At the start of the Parliament, in July 2015, we carried out an extensive consultation with our stakeholders to identify what policy areas they considered should be (a) urgent scrutiny priorities, and (b) long-term priorities, for our Committee over the coming five years. Our subsequent report, Our priorities for Parliament 2015–20, provided an overview of the approach we took, the issues that were raised, and the immediate outcomes in terms of our planned work programme.* We also held an away day to reflect on the views of our stakeholders and identified three strategic goals:

  • Goal 1: Holding the Government to account on achieving a balanced energy policy
  • Goal 2: Setting the agenda on an innovative future energy system
  • Goal 3: Influencing the long-term approach to climate targets

Our strategic goals have helped to guide our work to scrutinise the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). In the last year we have conducted seven major inquiries which resulted in detailed reports on the changes Government ought to make, and we held numerous evidence sessions to scrutinise topical issues such as ‘The outcomes of Paris COP 21’, ‘The Competition and Market Authority’s energy market investigation’, and ‘UK new nuclear: status update’. Highlights from our inquiries over the last year are provided in Chapter four and full details of our work can be found on our webpage (

* Energy and Climate Change Committee, First report of session 2015–16, Our priorities for Parliament 2015–20, HC 368

1 Energy and Climate Change Committee, Energy revolution inquiry page [accessed 6 October 2016]; and UK Parliament Youtube channel, The energy revolution,’ accessed 6 October 2016

© Parliamentary copyright 2015

14 October 2016