Renewable Energy

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 26th January 2012.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South 10:30 am, 26th January 2012

What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on growth in the renewable energy sector.

Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have regular meetings with ministerial counterparts in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on a variety of topics, including renewable energy issues.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

What discussions has the Minister had with the Business Secretary regarding the 45,000 jobs that could be lost in the construction industry over the next three years and the impact that will have on green energy delivery?

Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I regularly discuss renewable energy with colleagues, but we remain very optimistic about the future for British renewables. We inherited a terrible position from Labour, third from bottom of the EU table, but I am glad to say that as of December 2011 there was 11 GW of installed renewable electricity, 15.5 GW in construction and 10.5 GW in planning; and in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency this month we have seen £12 million invested in Geothermal International, alongside £2.5 billion of announced investments since April 2011. That is a very encouraging picture.

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee, Chair, Finance and Services Committee

A major area of growth for the renewable energy industry will be marine energy, particularly, of course, the Pentland firth. I congratulate the Minister on the renewable energy park that he has put in the south-west and I thank him for the conversations we have had on turning the Pentland firth into a renewable energy park. Can he tell me what progress we are making?

Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

I was delighted that this week we were able to launch the UK’s first marine energy park, and under the coalition marine energy in the UK is finally getting the drive forward that it has needed for years. The hon. Gentleman played a key role in developing marine energy potential in Scotland, and I should like to invite him to host a board meeting of the marine energy programme board in Caithness in the summer, where I hope we shall have some good news on the creation of the second marine energy park in the UK, in Scotland.