Ed Davey MP writes…Big boost for investment in renewable electricity

It may seem to Lib Dem Voice readers that important energy announcements are a bit like buses. You wait some time for one and then several come along together. So hard on the heels of Monday’s energy bills package today Danny Alexander announced the final strike prices for renewable technologies and also which companies had qualified for the final stage of being awarded early investment contracts. This is good news for investment in the UK’s infrastructure and good news for our move to a low carbon economy.

On the back of these announcements we expect an additional £40 billion of investment in renewable energy by 2020 to build on the £30 billion which has already been invested since 2010. And we are on track to meet our aim of generating over 30% of our electricity from renewables by 2020 compared to 15% today and less than 7% under the last Labour government.

Inevitably there will be some who criticise our decision to cut our support for onshore wind and large scale solar projects. I make no apology for that – indeed I welcome it as a sign of the success of our policies as have organisations such as Greenpeace and the Renewable Energy Association.

Our projections for the building of onshore wind and solar generation capacity are the same as when we published the higher strike prices in June. It is good news that our policies are driving down the costs of the more mature renewable technologies for consumers so that we can cut the subsidy levels. It means that we have been able to adjust upwards the subsidy levels for offshore wind so that we can get more capacity built – all within the same total budget. And the more offshore wind capacity is built the faster the costs will come down.

So despite the fervent opposition to renewable energy from the climate change deniers on the right and Labour doing their best to deter low carbon investment through their economically illiterate price freeze, Liberal Democrats in government are delivering record levels of renewable electricity and investment.

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

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5 Comments

  • Gwyn Williams 4th Dec '13 - 2:00pm

    One of the days when we can be really pleased the Lib Dems are in Government. Seizing the cost of living argument back from Labour and at the same time undermining the right wing nutters is worthy of an episode of ” Borgen”.

  • David Allen 4th Dec '13 - 2:23pm

    So, now we’re told that:

    The “free school meals for 5-7 year olds” gimmick will cost an extra £150M for an emergency building programme to provide new school kitchens.

    To find the money, other budgets will have to be raided and environmental funding may well suffer.

    Of course, if Labour cancel this gimmick in two years’ time, the new kitchens will become white elephants.

    So, another triumph for the Nu Lib Dems and gimmick-centred politics, then?

    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/dec/04/200m-free-school-meals-nick-clegg-michael-gove

  • Ed Davey speaks with forked tongue. The secretary of state who will go down in history as the man who rushed to nuclear (despite everything he had promised in four general elections) provides a link to Greenpeace and claims their support.

    What Greenpeace actually say if you follow the link is –

    Greenpeace on cuts to renewable support schemes
    4 December, 2013
    Responding to the Government’s announcement on renewable energy strike prices, Greenpeace Policy Director Doug Parr said:
    “Today’s cuts to onshore wind and solar support schemes show how quickly the cost of clean energy technologies are falling. Onshore wind farms will power our homes and factories more cheaply than new nuclear stations (1), and the same is expected of solar.

    Could Ed Davey or one of his minions explain which bit of – ” Onshore wind farms will power our homes and factories more cheaply than new nuclear stations (1), and the same is expected of solar.” supports his rush to nuclear?

  • @JohnTilley

    The Greenpeace statement is also misleading. I haven’t seen evidence that the cost of (largescale) clean energy technologies are quickly falling; I have however seen evidence (NETA data) that shows that onshore wind contributes very little and really should not be directly connected to the national grid. Hence it is right for the government to adjust support schemes to reflect lessons learnt todate. Given the NETA data, whilst onshore wind farms might be cheaper than new nuclear, when it is minus 12C and wind speed is near zero for several days, I like many, would prefer to pay a little more just to be able to have the lights and heating on…

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