HC Deb 02 February 1999 vol 324 c582W
Mr. Gummer

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government are taking to encourage electricity companies to supply electricity from renewable energy sources beyond their obligations under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation. [67965]

Mr. Battle

In September last year, I announced the fifth and largest Order to date under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO-5). Under that Order, the electricity supply companies in England and Wales contracted collectively with 261 projects with a combined capacity of 1,177 Mega Watts (MW).

I have also reversed the planned cuts in the renewable programme budget, so that the budget for this year (1998–99) has been maintained at £11 million. The programme supports both Research and Development (R&D) and market enablement projects. Of the latter, among the projects supported this year was the Renewable Generators Consortium (RGC), which brought together the majority of generators with contracts under NFF0-1 and NFF0-2—contracts which subsequently ended on 31 December 1998—in order to negotiate new, post-NFFO contracts collectively with the electricity supply companies.

Many of those generators, now trading successfully in the open electricity market, are supplying electricity companies which are either already offering or which are about to offer, green electricity tariffs or products of some kind. The programme has also been supporting work on accrediting such tariffs and I hope to see an accreditation scheme launched later this year, with substantial support from my Department.

We are also considering wider renewable policy as part of our review of renewable energy, the results of which will announce shortly.