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Hydro-electric Power Generation

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of William Wragg William Wragg Conservative, Hazel Grove

What steps her Department is taking to support hydro-electric power generation.

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

A number of hydro projects are currently in receipt of support through the feed-in tariff and renewables obligation schemes. As my hon. Friend will know, from 2020 small-scale hydro-electric projects will also be eligible for the smart export guarantee, which allows people to resell excess capacity to the grid.

Photo of William Wragg William Wragg Conservative, Hazel Grove

My right hon. Friend will be aware of the failure of Solarplicity during the summer. Many renewable energy companies, including Stockport Hydro in my constituency, are significantly out of pocket. Will my right hon. Friend meet me to discuss the problem, and will he urge Ofgem to step in and cover the debts that are owed to Solarplicity?

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

I should be delighted to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the issue. Obviously I cannot commit Ofgem to bailing out companies or paying debts—that is not its function, as my hon. Friend should know—but I should be happy to meet him at any time that is convenient.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

I welcome the support given to hydroelectricity generation at this time. Exciting new projects in marine energy need the same support. We would not have a successful offshore wind industry had not support been given to that for decades. Will the Minister follow the work of his predecessor on this and work with the Welsh Government to ensure that this happens around the UK coastline?

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Absolutely. The hon. Gentleman raises an important point: the success with offshore wind did not come out of a clear blue sky. It evolved and depended on huge amounts of investment and development over many decades. So I am very happy to engage with the hon. Gentleman and the Welsh Government on this.