My Department is funding a further £6·85 million of research into geothermal energy to determine the cost-effective contribution that hot dry rocks could make in the United Kingdom. This includes a £5·85 million extension to the programme of reservoir investigations by the Camborne school of mines and a further £1 million on supporting studies.
I thank my right hon. Friend for that renewed commitment by the Government to this alternative energy source. Does he agree that although we must continue to obtain energy from main fuels, including nuclear power, there should be an increasing commitment to alternative power sources, such as energy drawn from hot rocks beneath the earth's crust? Will he acknowledge that that is a good way of proceeding, and will he make further commitments in this direction?
My hon. Friend knows that the Department of Energy has made a major contribution in this instance and has invested about £20 million so far. The quality of the work that is being carried out is establishing the United Kingdom as a world leader in this technology. We are delighted to be able to support it and to see it continue.