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Offshore Wind Power (Port Infrastructure Funding)

Volume 518: debated on Thursday 11 November 2010

12. What proportion of his Department’s funding for low-carbon technologies is likely to be allocated to port infrastructure for offshore wind industries in the next four years. (23155)

The spending review announcement included about £200 million to support the development of energy technologies, as well as up to £1 billion for carbon capture and storage. We will commit up to £60 million to support offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure at port sites, to meet the needs of offshore wind manufacturers.

I am grateful for that answer, and I am pleased that the Government are following through on this Labour party initiative. The Minister will know that north-east England, including the north bank of the river Tees in my constituency, is well placed to create thousands of jobs through the development of offshore wind farms. Can the Minister assure me that our north-east regional ports will get a share of this investment?

These are some of the best opportunities anywhere in the country. We know there are good opportunities across the country, and they will be particularly focused on assisted areas, which will certainly include parts of the north-east. There is great potential there that we hope will be developed.

Given the developments in this sector generally, will the Minister comment on the £70 million wind energy fund, which has just been unveiled by the First Minister for Scotland, and which the First Minister claims is open for business immediately and will lead to the creation of 28,000 jobs? We all hope he is right. Has the Minister’s Department been involved with the Scottish Government? How does he see this rolling forward?

The First Minister’s announcement was based on his own decision, and we are still waiting for more details about what it will involve. However, when we put together £70 million for Scotland and £60 million for England, we have a significant contribution to the development of this industry in the United Kingdom.