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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:34 am on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) 10:34 am, 25th November 2015

My hon. Friend puts his finger on a very real fear among many people. Future Government cuts will mean that the Department will no longer be able to function as a Department that can marshal investments together. If that is a consequence of the spending review being undertaken at the moment, it is a serious state of affairs not only for the future of energy management, but for the future of our investment in renewables overall.

My right hon. Friend Mr Hansonpointed out how much investment has gone into offshore wind, with the emergence of the Siemens arrangement in Hull, the Vestas investment on the Isle of Wight and the appearance of Gwynt y Môr, which he was recently able to attend the opening of, unlike some other people.

Liz Saville Roberts pointed out the possible economic value for the future of renewables. Perhaps it is worth reminding the House that, according to a recent report by Cambridge Econometrics, the economic value of offshore wind over the next 20 years could increase UK GDP by £20 billion a year by 2030. It could create 70,000 more jobs and reduce gas imports by £8 billion, and it could produce emissions in the power sector that would be three times lower than at present. That is the sort of prize ahead of us as far as investment in renewables is concerned. That is the prize presently being dashed by what has happened recently and by the longer term uncertainty that the Government have introduced in terms of support for renewable investment.

The Minister will say—has said, I am sure—that this is okay because our targets for the deployment of renewable energy to generate electricity look as though they might be reached. I remind the House—indeed, my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley underlined this point—that we are failing miserably to reach our overall EU energy targets in electricity, heat and transport. The recent letter from the Secretary of State, which came to public attention, indicated how badly we were likely to miss the targets over the next period. The EU is quite happy for you to overachieve in certain areas, even if we underachieve in other areas. The idea that because you have achieved in one area, you can then drop the baton in all the other areas and not worry about it seems a further misunderstanding of the task ahead of us.