Ed Davey MP writes: Energy Act will create 200,000 green jobs

We will have to get used to calling it an Act, as the Energy Bill that I’ve been driving through Parliament is now law.

Creating the world’s first ever low carbon electricity market is a major achievement for the Liberal Democrats and the Coalition.  And it has been delivered on time.

So, what will the Energy Act deliver?

It will create 200,000 green jobs.

The framework we’ve now put in place will create 250,000 jobs in the energy sector by 2020 – and 200,000 of them in renewables.  The investment that we’re unlocking will produce green jobs up and down the country in offshore and onshore wind, biomass, solar and other renewables.

It will keep the lights on.

The Coalition inherited a shocking Labour legacy of underinvestment in the energy sector and without prompt action, would have left the UK with a serious threat of the lights going out.

Around one-fifth of generating capacity is due to close over the next decade, including all but one of our nuclear power stations as well as almost all coal stations. To meet this energy gap,  Liberal Democrats in Government have already secured more than £30 billion of investment in renewables and the Energy Act puts in place the framework to unlock a further £40 billion.

Make no mistake, under a Labour Government much of this would be brought to a grinding halt.  If you don’t believe me then the Head of the OECD’s comments are worth considering.  Angel Gurria said that under Labour’s price freeze plans, investors in energy will “probably go bankrupt.” Labour’s policy threatens the action we have taken to keep the lights on and to tackle climate change.

For the investment our policies are stimulating means Liberal Democrats are delivering on tackling climate change.

The Energy Act will ensure that by 2020, 10m homes in the UK are powered by green energy.   As a result, CO2 emissions will plummet by 20m tonnes a year – the equivalent of annual emissions from 7m UK households, or 30% of our cars.

And our Energy Act will protect consumers.

Keeping bills down for consumers is also at the heart of the Act.  Increasing the amount of home-grown green energy will ensure we don’t become increasingly reliant on importing gas – the key driver behind energy bill increases over the last few years.

Liberal Democrats have also introduced measures to ensure the Big 6 energy firms that emerged under the last Labour Government are forced to provide much simpler bills and switch people to cheaper tariffs, and face stiffer competition in both retail and generating markets.  And consumers will now be directly compensated if they have been hit by wrongdoing by energy suppliers.

Liberal Democrats should be proud that we’re increasing green energy, and with it creating thousands of green jobs. All while ensuring consumers are protected in the long-term and the Big 6 energy firms that Labour created at last feel the heat of competition.

* Ed Davey is the MP for Kingston & Surbiton and Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • It doesn't add up... 19th Dec '13 - 3:14pm

    Ed Davey’s Expensive Energy Bill will be a burden on the people of the UK, and destroy many jobs here while creating many abroad as our industry continue to migrate away from high cost energy. It will do nothing to lower global CO2 emissions – which are likely to rise as industry moves to economies that use cheap coal. It poses a severe risk of power cuts as we phase out perfectly viable and reliable power stations in favour of intermittent and costly offshore wind. The nuclear element is under attack from the EU for excessive state subsidies – rightly so, given that similar capacity of around 3.2GW is being built using the same French EPR technology at less then a third of the cost and in half the time as Hinkley C at Taishan, China, without the benefit of 35 year index linked deals at more than double the cost of power.

    Those in Parliament who voted for this Bill should be throughly ashamed of what they have done to impoverish the country and make energy needlessly expensive and unreliable. They will have caused deaths of those not able to afford to keep warm, all for the sake of feeling smug about imposing unaffordable green bills.

  • It doesn't add up... 19th Dec '13 - 4:47pm

    I do hope you are not going to indulge in censorship just because my comment is critical.

  • Tony Dawson 19th Dec '13 - 5:26pm

    I have spent a good part of today discussing the ‘green’ initiatives of this government with the owner of a large installation company and a moderate-sized plumber/heating engineer. Both agree that the whole thing is a complete mess with the government not having any idea of what is actually going on. Mansions are being insulated for free while firms are refusing to do the ECO on smaller properties because the payment will not cover the costs.

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Dec '13 - 5:36pm

    I’m a supporter of Ed Davey, but the public needs to be reassured at all times that the Lib Dems are balanced when it comes to green policies. Being pro green personally doesn’t mean we have to use the heavy hand of the state and force other people to be green, especially those that can’t afford it.

  • jenny barnes 19th Dec '13 - 5:50pm

    I don’t feel I can afford the planet to get significantly warmer. How do you suggest we ensure that doesn’t happen without using the “heavy hand of the state”? Individual efforts can easily be overwhelmed by tax breaks for fossil fuels, or policies like increasing rail and bus fares , poor walking/ cycling infrastructure which increase car usage…

  • jenny barnes 19th Dec '13 - 5:51pm

    …aviation fuel not being taxed. Reduction in road fuel duties…

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Dec '13 - 5:58pm

    Jenny, I’m just a bit of a libertarian at heart and I can’t help but feel nervous when it comes to government interventions. A lot of government interventions damage the environment, such as pushing through large infrastructure projects. I’m not a member of the Conservative Party, because quite frankly they love government interventions to help their generally better off voter base, which is the worst kind.

  • Anyone notice the Elephants in the room ? Nuclear? Fukushima ? Illegal subsidy ?

    Ed Davey will go down in history as the secretary of state for the Hinkley Point C nuclear subsidy, unless the Europe Commission can stop him.

    The Guardian reported –
    On the day royal assent was finally given to the coalition’s controversial Energy Act, the EU’s executive arm expressed doubts that British ministers could justify state aid to nuclear which it estimated could reach £17bn.

    The EC warned of the risk of a “subsidy race” between member states and Joaquín Almunia, vice-president for competition policy, described the aid package as a complex measure of an unprecedented nature and scale.

    Read more –

  • Gerald Francis 19th Dec '13 - 6:30pm

    Fan of most renewable energy but most definitely not counter productive wind turbines. This imposition is clearly ILLIBERAL and an abuse of the DEMOCRATIC process .

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Dec '13 - 6:40pm

    Jenny, you made a fair criticism, by heavy hand of the state I mean aggressive use of the state, not any use.

    My initial thoughts on the article were that the Energy Act is about energy, not jobs, and that it will probably cost many jobs, as well as create them. Try to ignore my other whining.

  • Stuart Mitchell 19th Dec '13 - 7:51pm

    As usual, Ed Davey tries to pretend he’s both in favour of price increases (Labour’s price freeze would be a total disaster), while at the same time in favour of “keeping bills down”. I haven’t the faintest idea where the Lib Dems actually stand on energy prices and this article just adds to the confusion.

    “Make no mistake, under a Labour Government much of this would be brought to a grinding halt. If you don’t believe me then the Head of the OECD’s comments are worth considering. Angel Gurria said that under Labour’s price freeze plans, investors in energy will ‘probably go bankrupt.'”

    I can’t see the likes of EDF (my electricity supplier, and contractor for much of our future generating capacity) going bankrupt any time soon. If only the UK had a state-owned energy company that was so successful both here and around the globe!

  • Paul In Twickenham 19th Dec '13 - 8:16pm

    I remember attending the Nuclear Industry lunchtime fringe at conference a few years ago (always a good choice as the food is fab) and watched a big American guy who looked like JR telling us that he recognized the importance of keeping costs of new nuclear in check. He was followed by Ed Davey who basically said “well we’re not doing any of this nuclear stuff so your cost controls are immaterial” or words to that effect : anyone else who was there please feel free to correct my account, which might be slightly faulty (after a lunchtime glass of plonk). I also recall some discussion about the risk of “the lights going out” which seemed to leave Mr. Davey quite unmoved.

    Is this article a paradigmatic example of “drinking the koolaid”?

  • Paul In Twickenham 19th Dec ’13 – 8:16pm
    Is this article a paradigmatic example of “drinking the koolaid”?

    OK Paul, I had to look this one up, and yes as usual you are right.

    Web definitions
    “Drinking the Kool-Aid” is a metaphor commonly used in the United States that refers to a person or group holding an unquestioned belief, argument, or philosophy without critical examination. It could also refer to knowingly going along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure. …

  • jenny barnes 21st Dec '13 - 10:28am

    Medium/ long term the place for heavy energy using industries is not in a nothern, not very sunny, Euroean country, but in places near where concentrated solar can economically be installed. North Africa, Australia, are both good examples of places where there are large areas of hot dry sunny with low populations, and coast so that raw and processed material can easily be shipped in and out. Cement, Aluminium, Steel , etc, There aren’t enough plausible renewables in the UK to drive all our energy needs, and it’s clearly daft to build HVDC lines to bring the power thousands of miles when it’s easier to relocate the factories. Nuclear is a short medium term way of solving an electricity capacity shortage, not really an energy solution. The lack of investment that Davey mentions has been going on for at least 30 years, not just under Labour (big boy did it and ran away).

  • Ed Davey – “The framework we’ve now put in place will create 250,000 jobs in the energy sector by 2020 – and 200,000 of them in renewables.”

    Can anyone point me to a quick breakdown of what and where these 200,000 green jobs will be ?? Full-time? Part time? Zero hours contracts? Minimum wage or six million pound bonus?
    When they will be created (the statement talks about “by 2020”) and is it a cumulative total over the 5 years until then or does it mean that in 2020 there will be 200,000 people with a green job as a result of this Act ??
    And by what definition they are deemed to be green jobs ??

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