Department of Energy (United Kingdom)


The Department of Energy was a department of the United Kingdom Government. The Department was established in January 1974, when the responsibility for energy production was transferred away from the Department of Trade and Industry in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis and with the importance of North Sea oil increasing.

Department of Energy
Department overview
Formed8 January 1974
Preceding Department
Dissolved11 April 1992
Superseding agency
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
Headquarters1, Victoria Street, London[1]
Ministers responsible

Following the privatisation of the energy industries in the United Kingdom, which had begun some ten years earlier, the Department was abolished in 1992.[2] Many of its functions were abandoned, with the remainder being absorbed into other bodies or departments. The Office of Gas Supply (Ofgas) and the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) took over market regulation, the Energy Efficiency Office was transferred to the Department of the Environment, and various media-related functions were transferred to the Department of National Heritage. The core activities relating to UK energy policy were transferred back to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The Department of Energy was a significant source of funding for energy research, and for investigations into the potential for renewable energy technologies in the UK.[3] Work funded or part-funded by the department included investigations into Geothermal power and the Severn Barrage[4]


Secretary of State for EnergyEdit

Colour key (for political parties):
Politicians:   Conservative   Labour

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Lord Carrington 8 January 1974 4 March 1974 Conservative Edward Heath
Eric Varley 5 March 1974 10 June 1975 Labour Harold Wilson
Tony Benn 10 June 1975 4 May 1979 Labour
James Callaghan
David Howell 5 May 1979 14 September 1981 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Nigel Lawson 14 September 1981 11 June 1983 Conservative
Peter Walker 11 June 1983 13 June 1987 Conservative
Cecil Parkinson 13 June 1987 24 July 1989 Conservative
John Wakeham 24 July 1989 11 April 1992 Conservative
John Major
Department abolished 1992. Functions transferred to the Department of Trade and Industry.

Junior ministers included Peter Morrison (Minister of State in 1987) and Patrick Jenkin.

Earlier and later ministriesEdit

Although only formed in 1974, the Department of Energy was not the first ministry to handle energy-related matters. The Ministry of Fuel and Power was created on 11 June 1942 from functions separated from the Board of Trade. It took charge of coal production, allocation of supplies of fuels, control of energy prices and petrol rationing during World War II.

The Ministry of Fuel and Power was renamed the Ministry of Power in January 1957. The Ministry of Power later became part of the Ministry of Technology on 6 October 1969, which merged into the Department of Trade and Industry on 20 October 1970.

The post of Secretary of State for Energy was re-created in 2008 as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "New Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy swallows up DECC and BIS — full details and reaction - Civil Service World".
  2. ^ UK National Energy Policy and Energy Overview Archived 2007-04-13 at the Wayback Machine, Energy Trends, published 2002-06-04, accessed 2007-03-22.
  3. ^ Contribution of Renewable Energy Technologies to Future Energy Requirements (Abstract), D. H. Buckley-Golder, R. G. Derwent, K. F. Langley, J. F. Walker, A. V. Ward, JSTOR, accessed 2007-03-22.
  4. ^ Brean Down barrage plan unveiled by Welsh businessman,, published 2006-03-04, accessed 2007-03-22.

External linksEdit

  • History of the Department of Energy