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Renewable Energy

Volume 703: debated on Tuesday 16 November 2021

We are holding the largest ever contracts for difference round next month, as my hon. Friend is aware, and only last month we confirmed up to £160 million to support investment in the floating offshore wind industry.

The Government have quite rightly taken action to accelerate uptake of electric vehicles by both subsidising those purchasing a new electric car and banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030. However, in my capacity as co-chair of the all-party midlands engine group, I recognise that vast areas of the midlands are insufficiently served with charging infrastructure. The Midlands Engine’s 10-point plan for green growth looks to tackle this issue. Will the Minister meet me to discuss how we can support the Midlands Engine Partnership, deliver greener transport, create jobs, and cut emissions?

I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend and the Midlands Engine Partnership to discuss how we can decarbonise our economy. I know he does a fabulous jobs as co-chair of the APPG. I have always enjoyed my engagement not only with him but with the Midlands Engine Partnership.

Does the Secretary of State at least accept that immediate environmental damage is being caused by the pursuit of renewable energy, with 13 million trees cut down in Scotland for wind farms, forests devastated across the world to produce ethanol for petrol, and Drax power station importing millions of tonnes of wood from America each year? Does he not accept that in an attempt to control the world’s climate, we are actually damaging the environment right now?

The right hon. Gentleman and I have exchanged differing views on this subject over many years now. What I do accept is that our drive—our push—for renewables is leading the world in pursuing a decarbonised economy.

The Secretary of State is well aware that Teesside is the centre of the green industrial revolution. In building new renewable energy capacity, can he confirm that he is happy to visit Teesside to see our plans for linking that renewable energy with green hydrogen production to power our homes in Teesside?

Perhaps to the surprise of the House, I can confirm that I am always delighted to visit my hon. Friend. I have done so on many occasions and I look forward to doing so whenever he wants and whenever my diary permits.

In a speech last month to the Energy UK conference, the Secretary of State made the case for a decisive shift towards clean energy and away from what he termed “volatile fossil fuels”, on which he said

“we are still very dependent, perhaps too dependent”.

Will he therefore explain how a decision by the Government to permit Cambo, an oilfield whose anticipated lifespan would see it still producing oil four years before we are legally bound to reach net zero, would be anything other than fundamentally at odds with that vision?

The hon. Gentleman will understand that the licences under which Cambo was permitted were actually granted when his own party was in government. He will also appreciate that I have always said that there will be a transition. He and his Labour associates want to shut down the industry and cause mass unemployment among the 250,000 people in this country who work in the sector.