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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:26 pm on 7th September 2016.

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Photo of Callum McCaig Callum McCaig Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Energy and Climate Change) 3:26 pm, 7th September 2016

I again agree wholeheartedly with my hon. Friend. To take things forward we need a proper decarbonisation plan. For electricity in particular—he touched on island connections, which we need—a tremendous resource is waiting to be unlocked. Likewise, there is a tremendous potential resource in wave and tidal energy, of which Swansea bay is another example. These big programmes may be costly in the first instance, but we missed the boat with onshore wind in terms of owning and developing the technology, which is where the real money is. With offshore wind, we are part of the way towards making sure we have some of that, although the main basis of the technology is outwith these islands.

With tidal energy in particular, we have the chance to be the world leader. In the past fortnight, fantastic announcements on tidal energy programmes have been made in the north of Scotland by Nova and Atlantis. Such announcements need to be the first of a kind, not one of a kind, but that requires continued access to the market. If I were to make plea above all else to the new ministerial team it would be for them to support and commit to 100 MW of tidal energy, at a CfD of £305. That will be fundamental to delivering the future of tidal energy.

Tidal energy has huge benefits. It is clearly far more predictable than other forms of renewables. It ticks an awful lot of boxes. It may be costly in its initial phases, but it is a new technology. Let us look to the future and not see at as a cost. If I have one criticism of the previous Department of Energy and Climate Change it is that everything was seen as a cost; nothing was seen as an investment. This is a form of investment. If we get the technology right and become the world leader in tidal energy—and potentially in the wave energy to come—such a deployment will provide us with a reliable renewable source of energy, and it will also open up a market. There is a lot of sea and there are a lot of tides in the world. There is astronomical potential for the deployment of tidal technology, so let us not kill it before it has got off the ground. Let us have a pathway and allow it to develop. Let us allow it to bring down its cost, and then allow it to go global.

To conclude, we can have consensus on this subject. We will probably not get it today, but that does not mean it should not be the aim for the future. We can do this, but we need to make a start. Paris is such a start—I agree with the Minister on that—so let us get on and do it. Let us get it ratified, and then get it delivered.