RENEWABLE energy industry leaders in the North East last night welcomed the publication of the long-awaited Energy Bill, saying it paved the way for the creation of thousands of jobs.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey set out a “once-in-a-generation transformation” of the UK’s power sector which ministers hope will keep the lights on, drive growth and jobs and cut emissions.
The bill allows ministers to treble investment in low-carbon power generation to £7.6bn by 2020, up from £2.35bn this year.
An estimated £110bn is needed in the next decade to renew the UK’s aging electricity infrastructure, with much set to go into low-carbon power sources such as wind farms.
The Energy Bill sets out plans for long-term contracts which will ensure companies are paid a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate from low-carbon sources to overcome the high capital costs of offshore wind and nuclear reactors.
Joanne Leng MBE, deputy chairman of Energi Coast, a group of North East energy sector companies set up to promote the region’s offshore sector, welcomed the bill.
“Offshore wind can help the country achieve its renewable energy targets, which has been recognised by the Energy Bill,” she said.
“Providing £7.6bn worth of investment will give the industry an injection of confidence, which will support projects that can be served by this region’s skilled and cohesive supply chain.
“The Secretary of State’s acknowledgement of the essential part the manufacturing supply chain has in achieving his low-carbon electricity ambitions was particularly welcome.
“These companies are forming an integrated supply chain that can have an impact on reducing the cost of building and maintaining offshore wind farms.
“While this investment will support projects in the short term, the failure to establish a 2030 carbon cap for the power sector will prolong uncertainty well into the future.
“Developers of Round 3 wind farms may well face decarbonisation target issues, which will spread further uncertainty across the sector.”