HC Deb 08 February 1982 vol 17 cc721-2
3. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he proposes to have discussions within the European Economic Community Council of Ministers about alternative sources of energy?

The Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. Mellor)

The Council is already discussing what further Community support might be offered for demonstration projects in new sources of energy. I hope that agreement will shortly be achieved.

Mr. Knox

Does my hon. Friend feel that enough research into alternative sources of energy is being carried out on a Community basis? Is this not a sphere in which it would far better to concentrate research entirely on a Community basis than to have the present mixture of national and Community efforts?

Mr. Mellor

A considerable sum—almost £120 million—it being invested in the present programme of research and development and demonstration project schemes within the Community. We believe that there is a considerable role to be played by domestic programmes, as the interests of member States with regard to alternative energy sources are not all the same.

Mr. Hooley

Will the Minister have serious discussions with the CEGB to discover why it is buying American-designed wind generators for electricity generation instead of using the well-advanced technology designed and produced in the United Kingdom? Is this to be a habit of the CEGB in relation to alternative sources?

Mr. Mellor

Procurement policy is, of course, a matter for the CEGB, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that the Department is playing a very active part in developing British aero-generator capability, and we are sure that that is right.