UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne used his speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference yesterday to spell out the benefits of the Government’s proposed ‘Green Deal’.
The “radical” proposals would insulate 26 million homes over the next 20 years, making energy efficiency affordable to all, and creating 250,000 jobs in the process.
“The Green Deal is a massive new business opportunity”, says Huhne. “Insulation installers and the supply chain all stand to benefit from this long overdue energy makeover.”
Contrary to recent hints that gas could represent a much needed transitional – but controversial – step towards a low-carbon economy, Huhne said that the country needs to “get off the oil and gas hook and on to clean growth”.
Such a move will require a switch to electric vehicles, high-speed electrified rail links and using electric ground and air source heat pumps for space heating.
Huhne admits that this will entail a doubling of current electricity use, which will have to be provided by a rapid expansion in renewable energy sources such as offshore, energy from waste, wave and tidal power.
The move, which will be backed by the Green Investment Bank, will improve the UK’s “shocking” record in renewable energy, he said.
“I make you this promise now: by the end of this Parliament, we will be Europe's fastest improving pupil when it comes to renewables. No more second best,” Huhne said.
Supporting that transition will be CCS, which is back on the agenda, and nuclear – but without public subsidy.
“I’m fed up with the stand-off between renewable and nuclear, which means we have neither – we will have both. We will have low carbon energy, and security of supply,” he said.
For further information:
Don’t cut feed-in tariff, Huhne urged by green groups (21-Sept)
We must take action on energy saving, says UK Energy Secretary (16-Sept)
Plans for Green Deal unveiled (20-Aug)
UK energy secretary pledges “radical overhaul” of homes (24-Jun)
22 September 2010