Energy White Paper

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:16 pm on 14th December 2020.

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Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 5:16 pm, 14th December 2020

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his comments. Let me just say to him: we are all revolutionaries now. We believe in the green industrial revolution, as he does himself. I note the points that he has made, but I will tell him what some in the energy sector have been saying about the White Paper. The chief executive of Energy UK has said:

“Today’s White Paper reveals the scale and opportunity of the energy transition”.

The chief economist of the CBI has said:

“The Energy White Paper is an important next step in our plans to reach our net-zero emissions target…Business stands ready to deliver the investment and innovation needed to turn ambition into reality”.

The chief executive of RenewableUK said:

“Today’s white paper provides greater clarity to the companies investing across the UK to deliver our net zero emissions target.”

The acting chief executive of Citizens’ Advice said:

“There’s a lot to welcome in today’s announcement.”

I could go on. [Hon. Members: “Go on!”] No; I know that other colleagues want to ask questions.

This Government have shown a great deal of ambition when it comes to the green industrial revolution. The right hon. Gentleman has seen the road map that is being laid out. We have, of course, had the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan with the £12 billion investment, leveraging in three times as much from the private sector, creating and supporting 250,000 jobs by 2030; he has seen the nationally determined contribution that was published, which was universally welcomed; and he will now have seen that the energy White Paper has been published, building on the 10-point plan. He talked about the fact that this White Paper has now appeared. When I spoke about this last week with the Chair of the Select Committee and said that I would get it out by Christmas, he asked me, “Which Christmas?”. I was keen to point out that it was Christmas this year.

Let me address some of the points that the right hon. Gentleman has raised. First, he talked about the CCC, which has made a recommendation regarding the NDC of a reduction of at least 68%. We have adopted that recommendation, and that puts us on the pathway to net zero by 2050. The right hon. Gentleman also talked about tidal. He will know that we have had a call for evidence on that subject. There will be an opportunity through the contracts for difference auction process next year to bring forward projects in that area. On offshore wind, let me be clear that we are talking about the 60% UK supply chain. He will know that in the last few days we have launched the ports infrastructure competition, which will be an opportunity for ports to bid for Government funding. This will ultimately allow us to build products relating to offshore wind in the UK and to create jobs in our country.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about financing for nuclear. As I said, we are at the start of that process of discussions with EDF, the developer at Sizewell C. There is a whole range of financing models that we need to work our way through. On hydrogen, he will know that the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, my right hon. Friend Kwasi Kwarteng, has been doing a brilliant job, working with the sector and academics. He leads the Hydrogen Council. I will be setting out our strategy at the start of next year and, of course, it is also about unlocking private sector investment.

The shadow Secretary of State talks about fairness for consumers. I am pleased that he welcomes that, and, as he will have seen, the acting chief executive of Citizens Advice has also welcomed the White Paper. In conclusion, of course we need to go further, but the Government are putting their best foot forward in delivering on a green industrial revolution.