Massive boost for clean, green energy

Published in Liberal Democrat Voice:

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.

They will also contribute to our energy security and will further protect the UK from international jolts in the energy market. Most importantly these projects will decrease our carbon emissions so helping us to tackle climate change.

This is a massive vote of confidence by investors in Britain’s transition to a low carbon economy and in the coalition government’s electricity market reforms which give companies the long term certainty they need to invest. It is this confidence in the UK which has already led Siemens to commit to investing in two factories in Hull and which will lead to supply chain jobs created throughout the UK.

Today’s announcements alone represent well over a quarter of total UK infrastructure investment committed so far this year. Investment in energy infrastructure is almost 60% of  total UK planned infrastructure investment and is taking place throughout the UK. I have also published today a summary investment report.  This shows that we have secured record levels of investment since 2010 with £45 billion of private investment.

It gives the lie to the claims of our critics in Labour and on the Tory climate change denying right that our energy policies will not deliver the investment that is needed to tackle climate change and energy security.

So great was the interest in these contracts that several projects have been unsuccessful and will now need to seek Contracts for Difference through future allocation rounds.. That is also good news for consumers as the more interest there is in our Contracts for Difference the sooner we can expect auctions to drive down costs for consumers

When put alongside the two pathfinder Carbon Capture and Storage projects in Scotland and Yorkshire, the planned new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point and our ambitious energy efficiency strategy this shows that the Liberal Democrats in government are delivering the greenest government ever. That is good news for our climate, our economy and jobs.