HC Deb 30 January 1984 vol 53 cc7-8
6. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what research is being undertaken by the European Community into solar energy.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The European Community's second energy research and development programme included spending some £27 million on solar energy applications in buildings, electricity production, the use of plants as fuel and fundamental research into biological processes dependent on sunlight.

Mr. Atkinson

I thank my right hon. Friend for that encouraging reply. Does he agree that solar energy offers the best long-term prospects for permanent and cheap sources of energy for the benefit of all mankind? Will he and his European colleagues consider some initiatives in this important field in collaboration with the United States and the Soviet Union?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I agree that there is considerable scope for solar energy, but it must be considered alongside other forms of alternative energy, such as wind power. It is necessary that this is done on a wider basis. Our co-operation with programmes in Europe means that the evidence gained is of advantage all round. Although it is interesting to examine solar energy, I wish that in the part of Britain which I represent we had more evidence of the sun's power which we could use than we have had in recent weeks.

Mr. Hannam

Has my right hon. Friend received any encouraging reports on the research into geothermal energy being carried out at Camborne?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

In this country that is one of the most encouraging areas of alternative energy and one for which we have a very large and continuing investment programme. The results are indeed encouraging.

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