HC Deb 10 March 1989 vol 148 cc84-5W
38. Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how much energy was produced by alternative energy sources in 1979; and what is the latest figure.

Mr. Michael Spicer

In 1979 and at present, most of the energy produced from alternative energy sources comes from the hydro-electric sources. In 1979 this was equivalent to around 1.8 per cent. of total electricity requirements in that year. In 1987 the percentage contribution from hydro-electric sources was just over 1 per cent. of total electricity requirements. Other alternative sources of energy such as the use of waste materials, wood, and wind power contributed only a very small proportion of our energy requirements in 1979. Today, wind produces around 3GW hours per annum of electricity, and biofuels (use of waste materials and wood), around 800,000 tonnes of coal equivalent per annum. The use of biofuels includes the generation of electricity from landfill gas and waste incineration.

If our renewables research and development programmes are successful and if they are proved economically viable and environmentally acceptable we might expect alternative sources of energy to be exploited on a more significant scale post 2000.

43. Mr. Tony Banks

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how much has been expended by his Department on research and development in alternative energy sources in each of the last three years.

Mr. Michael Spicer

The table gives my Department's expenditure on alternative energy sources for the last three financial years. Provision for 1988–89 is £16.2 million and that for 1989–90 is 17.9 million.

£ million £ million £ million
1985–86 1986–87 1987–88
Wind 5.4 3.7 4.0
Wave 0.4 0.1 0.2
Geothermal Aquifers 0.3 0.1 0.0
Geothermal hot dry rocks 3.5 3.5 3.6
Solar 0.7 0.9 1.1
Biomass 0.8 1.3 2.2
Tide 0.1 0.1 1.4
Hydro/general studies 0.3
ETSU management 2.0 2.3 2.3
13.2 12.0 15.1
External contributions 2.1 3.1 3.9
Total cost of the Department's programme 15.3 15.1 19.0


  1. (a) Expenditure under biofuels includes expenditure on "waste as a fuel" projects under the Energy Efficiency Office Demonstration Scheme.
  2. (b) Up to 1986–87 total for R&D also included expenditure on low head hydro and general studies. These are separately identified for 1987–88.
  3. (c) Where available external contributions include industry, generating boards and the European Commission.