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Renewable Energy: Capacity

Volume 686: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2020

The UK is a world leader in offshore wind and proud to be the home of the world’s largest offshore wind farm. That is why we have increased our target to deliver 40 GW of offshore wind, quadrupling capacity by 2030, and announced £160 million to support ports and infrastructure enabling the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs.

Off the Sussex coast, the Rampion wind farm has plans to triple its output. It is already powering local homes, but it could also be key to developing green hydrogen to power heavy transport, including buses. Does my hon. Friend agree that this technology needs to be scaled up and at pace, and what support is being given by her Department to bring partners together to deliver this green hydrogen fuel across the network so that places such as my home town of Eastbourne can see an improvement in its air quality and meet its 2030 carbon neutral ambition?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Green hydrogen, coupled with our abundant offshore wind resources, could play a vital role in decarbonising crucial parts of the economy, including heavy transport. The energy White Paper sets out our ambition for 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. The £23 million hydrogen for transport programme has already helped grow the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations across the UK.

The tidal energy industry has a hugely important role to play in meeting increased demand for electricity and achieving net zero carbon emissions. The Mersey tidal project has the potential to transform Merseyside, generating enough power for 1 million homes across the north-west, while creating thousands of jobs and positioning our region as a world leader in tidal energy. What practical steps are the Government taking in the immediate term to support the development of this much needed project?

I thank the hon. Member for his question. The Government have funded the north-west energy hub to develop renewable opportunities in the region and are open to considering well-developed proposals with strongly demonstratable value for money and for the environment. He will also know that our officials have been in communication with the Mersey tidal power team, and I ask that they continue their engagement.