Renewable Energy: Exports

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

We are working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to maximise the overall economic impact of our world-leading renewable energy sector, including that of exports. The Department undertakes a range of promotion activities, including running trade missions and dedicated workshops.

Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities), Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

I thank the Minister for that response. What support has the prosperity fund awarded to fossil fuel projects in developing countries, and how was that funding assessed in terms of the environmental and social impacts of those projects?

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

All investments by the prosperity fund are examined against the raft of UK Government policies, objectives and aims, and we do that in all cases in each continent of the world.

Photo of Martin Vickers Martin Vickers Conservative, Cleethorpes

As the Minister is aware, the Grimsby and Cleethorpes constituencies are major centres for the renewables sector. Many of the smaller businesses are vital parts of the supply chain, and they would like to get more involved in exports. Will the Minister agree to meet me and a delegation from the local industry to explore the possibilities?

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He will be aware that the offshore wind sector deal, published in March 2019, sets an ambition of increasing exports fivefold to £2.6 billion by 2030. He and I, in our respective constituencies, have seen the transformation of the economics of offshore wind. We are now seeing UK Export Finance, for instance, financing major investments in Taiwan and other parts of the world, with UK exports and UK expertise, not least from my hon. Friend’s constituency, at the heart of that. I would be delighted to meet him.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

A recent investigation by “Newsnight” and Greenpeace found that UK Export Finance is financing oil and gas companies that will emit 69 million tonnes of carbon a year—nearly a sixth of the UK’s annual emissions. It is ridiculous to talk about tackling climate change in this country when we are exporting our carbon footprint abroad. Will the Minister commit to phasing out this support by 2021?

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

The Government are investing £2.5 billion in clean growth innovation by 2021, as set out in the industrial strategy. The offshore wind sector deal commits the sector to investing up to £250 million, building a stronger UK supply chain. It is a transition—a transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner technologies—and we intend to drive that ever faster.