HC Deb 20 February 1984 vol 54 cc555-6
13. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will report progress on United Kingdom research into alternative forms of energy.

Mr. Peter Walker

Continuing progress is being made in research on those technologies with the best prospects.

Mr. Chapman

I appreciate that Government grants for research into alternative forms of energy have increased more than fourfold in the past five years. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that research work is being undertaken in collaboration with other EEC countries to ensure that there is no waste or duplication of necessary effort?

Mr. Walker

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that supplementary question, because I think that there is waste and duplication. I have recently had talks with a number of European colleagues who are responsible for energy to ascertain whether we can collaborate more closely. I am having talks next month with the American Secretary of State for Energy to see whether similar collaboration can be achieved with the United States.

Mrs. Renée Short

What support is the Secretary of State giving to British firms that are developing wind energy as an alternative source of energy for the desalination of sea water, bearing in mind that that has considerable interest for Third-world countries and the export potential for British firms?

Mr. Walker

This matter is of interest. I know that the hon. Lady will be pleased to hear that a few months ago I gave the go-ahead for a £3.2 million wind generator project at Carmarthen bay.