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Carbon Savings

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th December 2017.

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Photo of Colin Clark Colin Clark Conservative, Gordon 12:00 am, 12th December 2017

What estimate he has made of the potential carbon savings due to result from phasing out the use of unabated coal from electricity generation by 2025.

Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

We are leading the world by ending unabated coal generation in Great Britain by 2025, and our consultation document published last year set out our estimate that that could guarantee savings of up to 124 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2016 and 2030.

Photo of Colin Clark Colin Clark Conservative, Gordon

Further exploration of the North sea for oil and gas was given a boost in the Budget. Gas is a lower emitter of greenhouse gases and is a better alternative to coal, so will the Minister focus on oil and gas in particular when developing the industrial strategy?

Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

We absolutely will. While the move towards clean growth is clear, the White Paper sets out that oil and gas remain one of the economy’s most productive sectors and refers to the intelligent use of its assets and expertise. I thank my hon. Friend for joining me on a visit to Aberdeen; we saw the prospects for the green economy, where sweating the assets is already leading to innovation.

Photo of Anna McMorrin Anna McMorrin Labour, Cardiff North

Unlike Wales’ ambitious targets for moving towards low carbon generation in onshore wind, the lack of ambition shown by the UK Government is startling. Will the Minister confirm whether Welsh wind projects will be eligible in any future contract for difference pot 1 auction, which he has already confirmed for projects in Scotland?

Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The hon. Lady should be aware that this country is leading the world in the development of green energy.

Photo of David Warburton David Warburton Conservative, Somerton and Frome

The good people of Frome are leading the way in moving to a low-carbon economy. We have ambitious plans to be carbon neutral by 2046, when all the energy needed to live, work and travel will be provided by renewable sources. May I invite the Minister, or indeed the Secretary of State, to Frome in sunny Somerset to hear this story first hand and see how these ambitions are being realised?

Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

My hon. Friend should be reassured that nothing would please me more than coming to Frome in Somerset to see the work that he has done locally. The clean growth strategy sets out how the UK is leading the world on carbon emissions, and we have set out how the Government will invest more than £2.5 billion in low-carbon innovation between 2015 and 2021.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

Major banks have lent £630 billion to build new coal-powered stations across the world, many of them in our competitor countries. What assessment has the Minister made of the cost of electricity for the competitiveness of businesses in the UK and does he not recognise that our attempts to save the world while the rest of the world is gaily building power stations fuelled by coal only damages our economy?

Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The hon. Gentleman is probably aware that we commissioned the Helm review of all the different costs of energy. We believe in a mixed use strategy for energy, and he must also understand the employment and economic advantages of the development of alternative energy sources, quite apart from the carbon-free advantages.

Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

Does my hon. Friend agree that, notwithstanding his comments, wind energy requires a subsidy, realignment of the national grid and extra money for back-up sources when the wind is not blowing? Does that not mean that the electricity will be far more expensive than that which is produced by gas or coal?

Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

There is a lot of chuntering from a sedentary position, which I will not take any notice of. I would like to answer the question if Opposition Members will allow me.

My hon. Friend should know that the cost of renewable energy is coming down. The cost of electricity from offshore wind farms, for example, has halved in price since they were first introduced. The Opposition may interpret this to mean that my hon. Friend is wrong. I would say that he is not wrong but he needs further education on this subject, and I will be delighted to meet him at any time to discuss it.