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Low-carbon Technologies

Volume 541: debated on Thursday 8 March 2012

17. What recent assessment he has made of the level of investment in low-carbon technologies in the UK. (98675)

In February, Ernst and Young upgraded the UK to fifth in the world for overall attractiveness for renewable energy investment. Cleantech Group estimated UK venture capital investment in clean technology in 2011 to be around $566 million, ranking us third in the world after the United States and China. We have forecast that 4 GW of renewable electricity will become operational in the coming year, which represents a doubling of installed capacity since May 2011.

I thank the Minister for his reply. What measures are the Government taking to ensure that the UK supply chain for low-carbon technologies is properly backed and developed?

In advance of the establishment of the Green investment bank, Green Investment UK will, thanks to the Chancellor’s Budget, invest up to £775 million in the green economy in the next financial year alone. This will be a huge boost, along with the other proactive measures that the coalition is taking to boost green growth.

What assessment has the Department made of the sustainability of the woody biomass subsidy, particularly given the availability of virgin UK timber?

I take my hon. Friend’s point extremely seriously, as do my colleagues. That is why we have a programme looking at the sustainability of the supply chain. I would be happy to welcome him to the Department to meet our officials so that we can fully address any concerns he might have on the matter.

The best low-carbon technology is probably insulation. A recent report on energy conservation suggests that we could save the economy more than £1 trillion by investing in insulation instead of in nuclear power. Has the Minister looked at that report?

I agreed with every word, almost until the end of the hon. Gentleman’s question. He is right that energy efficiency, including insulation, is an absolute no-brainer. We have failed to do as much as possible in the past. With the green deal and the energy company obligation, we hope to transform the energy efficiency of homes and businesses in the UK.