My feelings during all this were similar to when Steve Webb addressed a local party supper club. I was thinking “Hey, this guy is doing fantastic, long-term stuff. Why the heck haven’t I heard about it before?”.
Today I published the Government’s first ever ‘Energy Investment Report’. It shows how Liberal Democrats in Government have delivered on jobs and investment in energy – particularly green energy – and shows the plan we now have for this to continue for decades to come.
Let me be clear – investment in the energy sector has not been a ‘nice to have’. We inherited a legacy of energy underinvestment from Labour and we’ve spent the last four years turning this around. The sheer scale of the investment has already been huge: between 2010 and 2013 we’ve secured £45 billion of investment in electricity generation and networks alone. The UK’s future energy infrastructure investment is larger than transport, communications and water spending combined.
President Barack Obama recently said in an interview on climate and energy that if there’s one thing he would like to see, it would be for the U.S. to be able to put a price on carbon emissions. He is right -- an effective market-driven approach to carbon pricing is crucial to tackling climate change and reducing emissions. The U.K. was the first to adopt carbon trading in 2002, and it continues to trade under the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.
Liberal Democrats in Government are doing everything possible to help consumers with their energy bills. Just last week I announced that by the end of the year energy suppliers will halve the time it takes to switch energy supplier from the current five to two and a half weeks. This is just the first step to achieving my ambition of achieving 24 hour switching.
There are many reasons why I believe Britain must stay in the European Union.
The peace and security Europe has enjoyed for nearly 70 years is partly a result of European nations working more closely together than ever before. As we commemorate the centenary of the First World War this year, for many people peace will be reason enough to stay in the EU.
Today I have announced the award of 8 new contracts for renewable electricity projects which will provide around £12 billion of private sector investment and once built will contribute around 4% of Britain’s electricity capacity.
These projects will support 8500 jobs and our overall electricity reform plans will generate over 200,000 green jobs. These projects and the jobs created will be across Britain – from the Moray Firth to Liverpool Bay and from Teesside to Norfolk.
Five of the projects are for offshore wind power generation – further reinforcing the UK’s No 1 position for offshore wind capacity and investment.
Last year I asked Ofgem, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) & the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to start producing annual competition assessments which will look at the way energy companies operate in detail. They will also set out any actions they deem necessary.
Surbiton Post Office Modernisation and Surbiton station rezoning
In wishing everyone a “Happy New Year”, I’d like to update you on two of my long running local campaigns. From improving the service at local post offices to rezoning Kingston and Surbiton train stations, I think 2014 will be an interesting and critical year.
“There is no such thing as a free lunch” was one of the first things I learnt in economics. But it seems that Ed Miliband thinks there is. He seems to believe that you can have freeze energy prices for 20 months with no adverse impacts. It may have seemed a politically smart thing to do leading into the traditional period of energy price increases.
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