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Controversial Choice Named for Government Energy Review Group

13 Jul 17:00 by Steve Walia

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The government has chosen a controversial Oxford professor to lead a review group assessing the financial state of UK energy. Dieter Helm, the Oxford University economist, has previously been outspoken in his criticisms of solar and wind energy.

Helm was selected by the DEIS to manage the review, which the Conservatives have promised will be a vital initial step in costing energy in an affordable and competitive way.

Amongst those taking an active interest in the review in government is Theresa May, who is keen to know the recommendations on how Britain can meet its carbon targets whilst keeping energy prices low and security of supply guaranteed.

Helm recently published a book that investigated the slow decline of oil firms in the rising growth of renewables. He has previously criticised the use and management of renewable energy technologies, speaking of their cost and describing them as expensive.

He has also said that he believes that the current generation of green power is insufficient to reduce carbon emissions in a meaningful way. 

Current renewable energies, he said, such as rooftop solar, biomass and wind, stood 'no real chance' of making a genuine difference to de-carbonising the economy. He described the issue as being a 'matter of scale'.

Helm believes that government funding should go towards the next generation of renewables, including highly efficient solar PV. He supports emerging renewable technologies such as battery storage and smart grids.

Greenpeace UK spokesperson Hannah Martin said that Helm had a recognised preference for fossil fuels and had failed to appreciate the potential of green energy.

She added that the review must be led by someone with the necessary 'vision' to maximize the potential of clean energy and to provide lower bills and more jobs and reduce pollution.