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Low-carbon Technologies

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 12 July 2022

7. What steps his Department is taking to help support the creation of new low-carbon technologies. (901022)

Low-carbon technologies are fundamental to meeting our net zero target and securing our energy supply. The Government have set out their ambition to invest up to £22 billion in research and development by 2026-27. Our £1 billion net zero innovation portfolio is accelerating the commercialisation of innovative low-carbon technologies, systems and processes in the power, buildings and industrial sectors.

I thank the Minister for her answer and welcome her to her place. May I bring to her attention the excellent bid from Uniper for carbon capture and storage technology to be built into its new energy from waste plant at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, which sits in the heart of the east midlands freeport? Does my hon. Friend agree that the UK’s first inland CCS facility, creating a carbon-negative and fully sustainable waste treatment solution, is worthy of investment through phase 2 of the carbon capture, utilisation and storage fund?

I commend my right hon. Friend—[Interruption.] Sorry, I commend my hon. Friend—it is only a matter of time—for working incredibly hard not only in Rushcliffe, but to promote the freeport for the whole of the east midlands. She is doing an incredible job. We are committed to deploying CCUS, including from energy from waste plants. We will announce the projects to proceed to the next stage of the track 1 CCUS process in due course.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Llefarydd. I welcome the Minister to her place.

The lack of grid capacity in Wales is a chronic problem, stalling both onshore and offshore low-carbon developments. National Grid’s pathway to 2030 proposes a new connection between north and south Wales. Will the Minister commit to working with the Welsh Government to set a precondition for any development of sufficient capacity to ensure that local, small-scale energy projects can access the grid at low cost?

We always work to ensure adequate capacity. Perhaps the right hon. Member could meet National Grid to talk about that, but if she would like to come back to me on the point when she has done so, I will be happy to meet her.

I welcome the Minister to her post. We all agree that supporting investment in new low-carbon technologies is an important part of reaching net zero—well, most of us do. In the past week, one of the candidates for Prime Minister has said that

“we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050.”

Another claims that it was

“wrong of us to set a target”

for net zero. The frontrunner spent two years at the Treasury blocking additional climate spend. It is all well and good for the Minister to talk about the need for investment, but how can we, and more importantly the investors out there, have any confidence that it will continue?

It is clearly in our manifesto that we are completely committed to net zero. I will not be commenting further on any leadership elections.