Mr. Gareth Thomas:
Since 1997, DFID has commissioned and completed about £2.25 million of applied-research on renewable energy, covering all the main renewable energy technologies.
As was recognised at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), access to affordable and reliable energy services is important to economic growth and social development. In promoting improved access to services, we encourage consideration of the full range of appropriate technologies, including renewable energy.
As a follow-up to the WSSD, DFID is working with several international networks to promote improved access to energy services, including the Global Village Energy Partnership and the EU Energy Initiative. These networks involve dialogue with developing countries about their energy needs in support of their poverty reduction objectives. Most countries possess a range of indigenous natural resources that may help meet requirements such cooking, heating, lighting and water pumping. Where they are practical and financially feasible, renewable energy resources may have an important role to play.
In addition, we are participating in an international financing and policy study with the World Bank about increasing the role of renewable energy in meeting the energy needs of developing countries. This is expected to report its findings in March 2005.