HC Deb 09 February 1994 vol 237 cc268-9
2. Mr. Jonathan Evans

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what were the principal sources of renewable energy supplies in the United Kingdom in 1993.

The Minister for Energy (Mr. Tim Eggar)

In 1993 approximately 1,400 MW of large-scale hydro-generating capacity were operational. A further 270 MW were available from other renewable energy sources, mainly under the non-fossil fuel obligation.

Mr. Evans

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is lie really convinced that enough is being done to encourage a variety of renewable energy products? Is the non-fossil fuel obligation really encouraging diversity in the renewable energy industry?

Mr. Eggar

I know that that is a matter of widespread concern. The whole House shares a commitment to increasing the proportion of our electricity generated from renewable sources. None the less, concern has been expressed about, among other things, the proportion of wind farms that may be established under the non-fossil fuel obligation. I shall consider that issue and I welcome the inquiry that the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs is making on the subject.

Mr. Clapham

Is the Minister aware of the study conducted before Christmas by the Association for the Conservation of Energy which showed that burning gas in the home was about 60 per cent. efficient, while burning electricity generated by gas in the home was only 40 per cent. efficient? Does the Minister agree that that is a waste and that there is a need to reconsider the energy sector and prepare a new framework for energy before it is too late?

Mr. Eggar

The Government's energy policy was clearly laid out in the White Paper following the coal review. It is important to increase the efficient use of energy and it is also important that we meet out Rio targets through, for example, increasing the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources. The hon. Gentleman will be the first to recognise that electricity generated from gas is much more environmentally friendly than electricity generated by coal.

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