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Alternative Energy Sources

Volume 21: debated on Wednesday 31 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what will be the estimated Government expenditure on alternative or renewable energy resources—excluding nuclear—in 1982–83; and how this will compare with the outturn of 1981–82 at constant prices so far as this can be calculated.

I am awaiting the advice of my Advisory Council on Research and Development for Fuel and Power on the future research programme into renewable energy resources. However, it will not be possible to insulate this area entirely from the savings which the Government are making in public expenditure. I hope that my Department will be able to devote between £11 million and £12 million to renewable energy 1982–83. This compares with an estimated outturn in 1981–82 of £13·6 million. There is no unique way of expressing cash expenditure in constant prices. One way is to deflate the expenditure by the change in the gross domestic product deflated at market prices, thus removing the general effect of inflation. The general inflation assumption is as in the Financial Statement and Budget Report, that is a GDP deflator averaging 8 per cent. in 1982–83. Using this assumption, the expected expenditure in 1982–83 corresponds to £10·2 million to £11·1 million at 1981–82 prices.