We are leading the world by ending unabated coal generation in Great Britain by 2025, and our consultation document published last year set out our estimate that that could guarantee savings of up to 124 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2016 and 2030.
Further exploration of the North sea for oil and gas was given a boost in the Budget. Gas is a lower emitter of greenhouse gases and is a better alternative to coal, so will the Minister focus on oil and gas in particular when developing the industrial strategy?
We absolutely will. While the move towards clean growth is clear, the White Paper sets out that oil and gas remain one of the economy’s most productive sectors and refers to the intelligent use of its assets and expertise. I thank my hon. Friend for joining me on a visit to Aberdeen; we saw the prospects for the green economy, where sweating the assets is already leading to innovation.
Unlike Wales’ ambitious targets for moving towards low carbon generation in onshore wind, the lack of ambition shown by the UK Government is startling. Will the Minister confirm whether Welsh wind projects will be eligible in any future contract for difference pot 1 auction, which he has already confirmed for projects in Scotland?
My hon. Friend should be reassured that nothing would please me more than coming to Frome in Somerset to see the work that he has done locally. The clean growth strategy sets out how the UK is leading the world on carbon emissions, and we have set out how the Government will invest more than £2.5 billion in low-carbon innovation between 2015 and 2021.
Major banks have lent £630 billion to build new coal-powered stations across the world, many of them in our competitor countries. What assessment has the Minister made of the cost of electricity for the competitiveness of businesses in the UK and does he not recognise that our attempts to save the world while the rest of the world is gaily building power stations fuelled by coal only damage our economy?
The hon. Gentleman is probably aware that we commissioned the Helm review of all the different costs of energy. We believe in a mixed use strategy for energy, and he must also understand the employment and economic advantages of the development of alternative energy sources, quite apart from the carbon-free advantages.
There is a lot of chuntering from a sedentary position, which I will not take any notice of. I would like to answer the question if Opposition Members will allow me.
My hon. Friend should know that the cost of renewable energy is coming down. The cost of electricity from offshore wind farms, for example, has halved in price since they were first introduced. The Opposition may interpret this to mean that my hon. Friend is wrong. I would say that he is not wrong but he needs further education on this subject, and I will be delighted to meet him at any time to discuss it.