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Renewables Industry

Volume 573: debated on Thursday 16 January 2014

9. What estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be created in the renewables industry as a result of the provisions of the Energy Act 2013. (902007)

Directly, and indirectly through supply chains, the Government’s electricity market reforms could support up to 250,000 jobs by 2020, the large majority of which will be in renewable electricity.

In Westmorland, we are extremely proud of having one of the largest and most important hydro manufacturing firms in the world in Gilkes of Kendal, which is a reminder that, unlike other energy sources such as nuclear and shale gas, 95% of the supply chain of the hydro and tidal energy industry is British. Given that and the almost infinite potential of the industry around this island, will the Minister commit to creating tens of thousands of British jobs by making hydro and tidal energy the centrepiece of Britain’s energy policy?

I will certainly commit to supporting renewable technologies and a mix of renewable technologies. My hon. Friend will have seen that we have confirmed the strike price for tidal and wave power in the final electricity market reform delivery plan that we published in December.

Investment in low-carbon energy has halved under this Government, costing jobs and threatening our energy security. Does the Minister agree that the two best things that the Government could do to improve their woeful investment record is to set a 2030 power sector decarbonisation target and stop the internal Government rows that are creating uncertainty and killing confidence?

I must tell the hon. Lady that this country has more offshore wind than any other country in the world. We have seen half a dozen large offshore wind farms commissioned and operating, and another four are under construction this year. We are leading the way in the deployment of renewable technologies, and those renewables contributed around 15% of our electricity in the third quarter of last year.