Renewable Energy

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons at 11:33 am on 7th June 2022.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

What steps he is taking to increase investment in renewable energy projects.

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

In April, the Government published plans for accelerating renewable energy deployment in our British energy security strategy. Of course, that is very much at the centre of our strategy to ensure sustainability, affordability and security in the long term in our energy.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

I wish Alex a happy retirement; where would we be without Hansard?

Ofgem’s remit is a real barrier to increasing grid capacity, as it is currently impossible to make anticipatory grid infrastructure investment. That is slowing the growth of renewables and pushing up household energy bills. If we had the new wind and solar farms that the Government are seeking to procure in this summer’s contacts for difference auction already on the grid, every UK household would save £100 on their energy bill this winter. So why have the Government still not reformed Ofgem’s remit?

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

I am sure that the hon. Lady paid attention to the Queen’s Speech and will have noted that it contained an energy Bill, which will precisely redefine Ofgem in order to attract the anticipatory investment to which she referred.

Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Of course when we are talking about renewables, it is important in this Chamber to reflect upon the fact that Scotland boasts 25% of Europe’s offshore wind capacity and of its tidal capacity. Now that the UK Treasury is going to be coining in some £13 billion from Scotland’s North sea oil and gas sector this year alone, will it give a little bit back and match fund the Scottish Government’s £500 million just transition fund?

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

I am delighted to see the hon. Gentleman so enthusiastic about energy in Scotland. I wish he would extend his support to nuclear power and other forms of decarbonised baseload. On his question, the Treasury has announced a strong investment incentive in relation to the energy profits levy.

Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Government have £13 billion in their back hipper, yet they will not even give £500 million back. But we should not be surprised, because this UK Government are failing to fast-track the Acorn carbon capture and underground storage project; continue to preside over Scottish renewables projects paying the highest level of grid charging in the entirety of Europe; and confirmed just yesterday that big oil incentives will not be carried over to big renewables either. So may I ask the Secretary of State: is it not the case that, as ever, Scotland has the energy but we do not have the power?

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

Scotland has the energy, and in the form of the UK Government it has a strong supporter of renewables and energy in Scotland. The Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend Greg Hands and I negotiated the North sea transition deal, and we are also pleased to have announced the energy transition zone in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, powered and funded by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.