HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 cc388-9W
Mr. Laurence Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support she is providing to industry for the development of renewable forms of energy; and if she will make a statement. [30803]

Mr. Wilson

[holding answer 28 January 2002]: The Government are providing substantial support to industry for the development of renewable forms of energy.

Introducing the new Renewables Obligation, exempting renewables from the climate change levy and protecting existing Non-fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) contracts will together create a long-term market incentive for renewables worth over £1 billion per year by 2010.

We are underpinning the obligation with direct Government funding for renewables worth over £260 million between 2001 and 2004. We are setting up extensive capital grants programmes, in particular for offshore wind and energy crops projects, initiating a major photovoltaics demonstration programme, and boosting research and development.

We recently introduced an order to allow locational flexibility for NFFO 3, 4 and 5 projects that have not yet been commissioned. This will allow more appropriate locations to be found in order to overcome problems in securing planning permission.

We have initiated studies of each UK region's capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources. Once all these assessments are completed, it is expected that specific regional targets for renewable energy will be adopted across the UK.

The Government are also exploring the scope for upgrading the electricity distribution system to enable the UK's huge renewable energy resources to be exploited to the full. For example, we have commissioned an initial study of the feasibility of an underwater cable to connect parts of the western seaboard of the UK directly to the National Grid.

Mr. Randall

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of electricity was provided by renewable carbon free energy sources at(a) January 1999, (b) January 2000, (c) January 2001 and (d) January 2002; and what her forecast is for each of the next 10 years. [31360]

Mr. Wilson

The percentages of electricity generated in the United Kingdom from hydro, wind, solar photovoltaics, wave and tidal sources in 1998, 1999, 2000 were 1.7 per cent., 1.7 per cent. and 1.6 per cent., respectively. The percentage declined in 2000 because of the lower level of hydro output in that year resulting from lower precipitation.

The Government's target is that by 2010, 10 per cent. of licensed UK electricity sales will come from renewable sources eligible for the Renewables Obligation. It will be for suppliers to determine the proportion of the 10 per cent. which comes from individual renewable sources.