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[Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair] — Clean Energy Investment

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:13 am on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of John McNally John McNally Scottish National Party, Falkirk 10:13 am, 25th November 2015

I am quite happy to speak. I am very good at speaking. I spent 40 years as a hairdresser, so I can talk about any subject on the planet.

I was very interested in the speech made by David Mowat. I recently had a meeting on this subject with Senator Kevin de León, who is over here. He is the leader of the Senate in California, which is spending vast amounts of money on renewable investment—California is the seventh richest economy in the world—and investment has followed that policy into renewable energy.

We have heard about France and various other countries, but there is a lesson to be learned from California. We are doing well in Scotland on our clean and green image, and we want to keep that image at all costs. We are extremely concerned about where the policy of the green investment bank is going, and we need to keep a hand on the tail of that dog—in fact, the tail is now a stump.

Storing renewable energy is the missing link in this debate. Compressed air energy storage needs to be addressed by this country. I would call this country’s policy a traffic light—we have a green, an amber and a red—and it is more red than amber. We are going nowhere, and the policy uncertainty does not make sense. We were going in the great direction of following green, renewable, clean energy and clean air, and we now seem to be moving in the opposition direction from the way we want to go. I am unhappy with that, and I think most of this country’s taxpayers, who were mentioned earlier, are unhappy with the direction of travel. We need to get back to a firm policy.

Gas is short term; I believe it is all built on the extraction on shale from this country. I can speak for everybody in the country of Scotland: we do not want to go there until it is totally proven to be a safe, efficient method of providing heat. I do not think any of us is convinced. The Minister needs to address compressed air energy storage and the salt caverns underneath this country that run down through England. We need a policy statement if we are to invest money in storage, and then we can start looking at how we produce more investment in the renewables industry.