Energy Bill

Part of Charities Act 2011 (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 4:44 pm on 19th December 2012.

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Photo of Ian Swales Ian Swales Liberal Democrat, Redcar 4:44 pm, 19th December 2012

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. There are issues about how some of the calculations have been made, given that companies were coming and going through the reference period, and he raises an obvious example.

The SSI steel works in Redcar alone account for around 1% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Supporting the Teesside project with an oversized network will therefore not only be good for decarbonising energy generation, but have the potential to decarbonise energy-intensive industry. In doing so, the project will protect existing industry—that includes steel, fertilisers and petrochemicals—and make it more competitive, and also make the area a magnet for future investment in both energy generation and industry. May I therefore gently remind Ministers that their Department is responsible not just for energy, but—the clue is in the name—for climate change? I also ask that the definition of CCS be reworded to ensure that it covers the wider opportunities that the technology represents. Meeting our carbon reduction goals requires action on all major emissions.

The Energy Bill and the move to a low-carbon economy are welcome on Teesside. In fact, the area is already something of a Disneyland for green technology. We have Ensus running Europe’s largest bioethanol plant, a £60 million anaerobic digestion power-generation unit run by Northumbrian Water, SembCorp’s Wilton biomass power station, SITA’s waste-to-energy plants, the pyrolysis of waste plants being constructed by Air Products, and 27 wind turbines being constructed just off Redcar by EDF, which I can see from my bedroom window.

The Energi Coast consortium in the north-east, consisting of more than 20 companies, has already invested £400 million, and is ready to exploit the offshore wind and marine energy sectors. I should also mention Redcar and Cleveland college, one of the first colleges in the country to be accredited for the provision of green deal training. Future plans include a biomass power station at Teesport, which has attracted Korean investment; a new community power station based on aeroplane engines; a plant for the pyrolysis of tyres, generating energy and fuel oil; more anaerobic digestion plants, one of which received money from round 3 of the regional growth fund; and sub-stations to deal with half the output of the proposed giant offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank, which are likely to be in my constituency.

I am pleased that we appear to have reached the end of the consultation period, and that there seems to have been an outbreak of agreement between DECC and the Treasury, because it is important for us to move quickly. There are many opportunities for business growth and technical leadership, but the rest of the world is not standing still. It is time to be bold and clear, and to get going. I welcome the Bill, and I hope that the Minister will note my comments on the clauses relating to carbon capture and storage.