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Renewable Energy Exports

Volume 663: debated on Thursday 11 July 2019

Promoting renewables is, of course, one more function of a dedicated trade Department, and we have export campaigns targeting renewable energy opportunities across Europe, Latin America and south-east Asia, along with support programmes. For example, the offshore wind sector deal commits the Department for International Trade and industry to increase offshore wind exports fivefold to £2.6 billion by 2030 and puts in place support mechanisms to help UK suppliers grow.

I thank the Minister for his answer. In Wales, the low-carbon and renewable energy economy employs nearly 10,000 people. However, as he has already said, this could be hugely expanded if there were more opportunities to explore and to export renewable energy, so what steps are the UK Government taking to boost the economy and export more to provide more jobs across Wales and the wider UK?

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on championing those employers and, more importantly, employees in his constituency across the world. We are absolutely dedicated to doing that. As I said, the offshore wind sector deal puts a lot of that in place. UK Export Finance now has a dedicated team to support renewables. Colleagues from across the Department worked with Taiwan, and I was there last year at the signing of a memorandum of understanding that opens up its offshore wind opportunities for local companies.

The Society of Maritime Industries says that export finance support in the UK lags behind what is available in other countries. It is calling for a much-needed follow-up detailing the specifics of the export strategy. If the Government are serious about the UK being a zero-carbon economy, where is the detail, the coherent plan and the investment into exports of our world-leading renewables sector? Labour believes in the industry; when will the Government start to?

I shall try to give a straight answer to a not entirely straight question. As I said, we have the sector deal. We have the export strategy and we are putting enormous effort into that. I am pleased to say, Mr Speaker, that in this 100th centenary year of UK Export Finance, it has, under this dedicated trade Department, been rated the best export credit agency in the world.

It is good to know that a centenary year marks 100 years and that 100 years would be considered to constitute a centenary. I wonder whether a 100th centenary year might be in danger of being a tautology.