Green energy auction paves way for 27 new renewables projects and thousands of green jobs across the UK

This article first appeared in Liberal Democrat Voice:

This morning I announced the results of the first auction for green energy generation. The results are impressive – more clean energy at lower costs.

Thanks to this first renewable electricity competition of its kind, I have offered contracts to 27 renewable energy projects across the UK.  Enough to power 1.4 million homes and save the equivalent carbon emissions of taking 2 million cars off the road.

The projects include offshore wind and onshore wind and solar, and will create thousands of green jobs.

What’s even better are the lower prices our green competition achieved.  The first ‘reverse auction’ ensured that prices were driven down. This meant we got more green energy from our budget than expected.

By bringing this auction forward by two years than planned just 3 years ago, we’ve saved £110 million a year.

And this latest boost to the UK’s green electricity revolution builds on our strong record of delivery since 2010.  It’s important you have the facts as there is so much misrepresentation of our progress by Labour.  Here are some facts to remember:

  • Electricity generation from renewables has more than doubled since 2010.
  • Since 2010, an average £7 billion a year has been invested in renewables.  Compare this to £3 billion a year in the previous parliament under Labour.
  • In 2013, almost £8 billion was invested in renewables – a record – though provisional figures suggest 2014 will be even better!
  • Britain’s first Green Investment Bank and first Community Energy Strategy.
  • Britain (Lib Dems!) in Europe leading to win more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 to give even more confidence to the industry and investors.

If that’s not enough then just last week I gave development consent for what will  be the world’s largest offshore wind farm and today I’m opening England’s largest onshore wind farm.

This is a story of success by any measure. But we cannot be complacent and simply assume what Lib Dems in government have achieved on green energy will simply continue unchallenged.   Under Labour their heavy hand of regulation will see investors press the pause button on UK plc – because they are not obliged to invest here.  They will go where they see certainty, the sort of certainty that we have created.

As for the Conservatives, they continue to try to talk a good game on renewables, but their credibility is thin and their arguments fall apart when you look at the real world.  Tories say they want to see renewables delivered in the cheapest way and I’m 100% with them on that.  The trouble is if you look at what this reverse auction has delivered on prices then onshore wind and solar are clearly offering cheap green energy.  As the Conservatives want to cap onshore wind, and they are not exactly promoting solar, you have to ask how they’ll plug their ‘renewables gap’ if they want to meet our legal obligations to tackle climate change and ensure consumer bills don’t go up.  You can only see one scenario for Conservative energy policy –  plugging the carbon gap with more expensive forms of green energy. Energy bills up under the Conservatives!

Lib Dems in government have delivered on green energy in a way that’s affordable to consumers. Yet the five green laws I proposed for the front page of our manifesto show we don’t believe the job is yet done.  We want to go further and faster over the next five years. Nationally and globally our environmental challenges haven’t gone away.