Committee (2nd Day)

Part of Energy Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 4:02 pm on 9th September 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke Labour 4:02 pm, 9th September 2015

My Lords, perhaps I may ask the Minister a question relating to new Section 89A introduced by Amendment 34. I drew attention at Second Reading to my entry in the register of Members’ interests as a non-executive director of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. I drew attention, too, to some interesting ideas that are developing about the use of decommissioned oil and gas facilities in the UK continental shelf that could be used for renewable energies, in particular in the area of offshore wind.

Given that the new sections introduced by the clause relate to the powers of the Oil and Gas Authority, would that be a limiting factor given that these renewable technologies are not hydrocarbons? I find it quite a complicated clause to work my way through. I am seeking to ascertain—it may be that the Minister cannot give me an answer today, but perhaps officials could take a look at it—whether there is protection of the possibility in future of previous hydrocarbon capabilities being used for offshore renewable energy. I took some comfort from the use of the word “facility”, which suggests that there might be some leeway there, but given that I am not a lawyer—although there are people in this Chamber who are—perhaps the Minister can give a slightly better answer to those of us who do not have that kind of expertise.