HC Deb 09 May 1983 vol 42 cc617-8
8. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the latest estimated Government funding of wind, wave, solar and tidal power, respectively, in 1983–84.

Mr. Gray

I expect my Department to spend approximately £14 million on research into new and renewable sources of energy in 1983–84. I have arranged for a breakdown of this estimate to be published in the Official Report.

Mr. Hooley

Bearing in mind that the much-trumpeted 15 GW nuclear power programme announced three and a half years ago has not even commenced, would it not have been wiser to concentrate effort on renewable resources than to squander effort and money on the programme?

Mr. Gray

The amount of money being spent on renewable resources has been substantially increased in the life of this Parliament. Work is proceeding all the time on the development of our nuclear programme. Many people working in the nuclear supply industry are still in employment as a result of this Government's policies.

Mr. Hannam

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government are spending four times as much as the Labour Government did on research and development into alternative forms of energy? What progress has been made in obtaining private sector participation in financing the Severn barrage?

Mr. Gray

My right hon. Friend is hoping to make a statement in the near future about the Severn barrage.

Mr. Forman

Is it not clear that the Government are spending the funds usefully on research and development into renewables? Will the Minister give a commitment that in examining the commercial development of such sources the Government will look upon that matter favourably?

Mr. Gray

That is correct. The Government are always prepared to examine the involvement of the private sector in any way that can be helpful.

Following is the information:

The estimated 1983–84 expenditure by the Department of Energy on new and renewable sources of energy is as follows:

£ million
Wind 4.8
Wave 1.0
Solar 1.2
Geothermal 4.2

£ million
Biofuels 0.7
Programme Management 2.0