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Green power will keep energy bills in check

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 11, 2013

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By Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth.

Every day I speak to families concerned by the rising cost of living. They tell me that it is energy bills that are hitting the hardest.

The carbon-based energy sources we have relied upon for decades are becoming more difficult to extract, more expensive to buy, and are frequently affected by the swings of an increasingly volatile international energy market.

If we are to liberate households from rising energy prices, we must first liberate our energy supply from the international carbon market. To do this we must develop a comprehensive domestic energy package, drawing on a range of renewable technologies. This week the Energy Bill set out a plan for the future. A plan for renewing our ageing energy infrastructure so that it is fit for the 21st century.

In an uncertain world, by generating more of our own energy in our own country, we will be able to insulate ourselves from shocks in international energy prices.

The coalition Government has introduced a raft of policies to reduce the dreadful daily waste of energy. The Green Deal enables homes to fund energy efficiency measures. The Electricity Market Reform (EMR) programme and the Green Investment Bank, are designed to encourage investment in renewable energy production and energy efficiency products.

This investment in clean domestic energy sources is paying off – renewable energy production in the UK grew by 27% last year alone. Over 10% of the energy now supplied in the UK comes from renewable sources.

Every week in my constituency I see people choosing to use the Government's measures to create a more sustainable future for themselves and their communities. Penair School in Truro has an inspirational programme of turning their food green and paper waste into energy. Their investment in a biomass boiler will save them £13,000 a year in waste disposal charges.

I am seeing the growth of companies developing and installing renewable energy across my constituency, growing high quality and sustainable jobs at the same time. Mount Wellington, a former tin mine, is a centre for ground heat, solar and tidal energy and neighbouring United Mines has planning permission to play host to the UK's first deep geothermal power plant. Geothermal energy is a renewable, virtually carbon-free source of power derived from the ground's natural heat, pioneered in Cornwall.

Falmouth is playing an integral role in the new South West Marine Energy Park, the new designation of the South West coast as a marine energy centre. Falmouth's FabTest facilities, which use the calm waters of the Fal to test the efficiency and functionality of new marine energy technologies, form an important part of the park.

Many people, whilst supportive of renewable energy technologies, have understandable concerns about inappropriate onshore wind turbine developments, and the impact they have on the surrounding landscape.

Since being elected I have been campaigning for the reforms announced last week. These reforms will ensure that communities are in the driving seat as decisions on future turbine applications are made. Concerns about the visual impact of turbines will be given far greater weight within the planning system and developers will be required to work hand in hand with the community as schemes are developed. Communities hosting onshore wind should benefit from lower electricity bills and investment in their community.

Applications for large scale solar arrays on good quality farmland have been causing consternation and I am pleased that the Energy Minister Greg Barker MP, recently restated the clear policy that solar panels should be on rooftops and brownfield sites.

Looking more widely, this week Regen SW published a renewable manifesto. The Manifesto for the South West sets out a comprehensive plan to secure further growth in local green industries, with the aim of creating a further 34,000 jobs. Delivering lasting energy security for our country and keeping energy bills down is a huge challenge but one with a great deal of opportunity for the UK to innovate and generate new technologies and new jobs.

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3 comments

  • PCAH3  |  June 13 2013, 2:46PM

    The Energy Bill currently going through Parliament includes nuclear as a source of 'green renewable energy'. Nuclear is not low carbon and not a green source of electricity. The UK can reduce its carbon dioxide by permanently shutting down all its AGR nuclear reactors. AGR stands for Advanced Gas Reactors; the gas cooling AGR reactors is carbon dioxide. Eighty per cent of the emissions from AGR reactors is carbon dioxide. The Energy Bill needs to exclude nuclear power. It will then be able to support the limitless electricity from wind, wave and tidal power all around our coasts. If the government wants to support large infrastructure projects, the Severn Barrage will provide electricity for twice as long as EDF's proposed Hinkley C development, for half the cost and with no risk to public or worker safety, no spent fuel and waste on site for thousands of years, no further increase in fatal cancers, no premature deaths from cardiovascular disease and no more heritable genetic mutations. DECC also needs to shut down its Office for Nuclear Development and transfer the staff to managing all the legacy nuclear waste with public safety as its overriding priority.

  • letigre  |  June 12 2013, 4:51PM

    The "greenest government" ever is crippling us with it's complete and utter inability to understand how the UK grid operates, how business works and the budget that most people have to send on things such as energy and food.

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  • johndavies  |  June 12 2013, 12:38AM

    Like most politicians, Sarah Newton obviously has no knowledge of fuel extraction or power generation, & like most politicians, pontificates at length on both. It's a bit like getting details of your brain tumour from the local estate agent:- ill-informed, inaccurate, but dressed up to look true. ( "Every day I speak to families concerned by the rising cost of living. They tell me that it is energy bills that are hitting the hardest" ) This government perpetuates the Compulsory levy on all bills (required to pay developers fat subsidy's to put ineffective, intermittent 'renewables' into the grid), that then commits us to use more foreign controlled gas & reduces our energy security, raises energy costs which drives our manufacturing to India & China. The countries with the highest % of wind & solar (Denmark, Germany) also have the highest energy prices, whereas low % of wind & solar ( France, Norway, Sweden) = low energy prices…coincidence ?? I don't think so. ( "we must first liberate our energy supply from the international carbon market" ) Some people believe a low carbon economy will be a paradise of electric cars, green fields full of skipping lambs, waste free low energy industries, all driven by wind & solar power, the reality is a bit different. We already have several examples of low carbon economy's - Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Congo, Eritrea, Nepal, North Korea, Romania, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Yemen, Zimbabwe, to name but a few. Is that the way we really want to go ??? ( "The coalition Government has introduced a raft of policies to reduce the dreadful daily waste of energy." ) Perhaps Sarah Newton could explain why (with all the 'green renewable policies' this present coalition Government has introduced ) Britain's CO2 emissions have increased by 4% in the last yr http://tinyurl.com/nqy5xav while most other EU countries decreased ?? [ clue:- Britain has increased its commissioning of intermittent renewables (wind & solar) with it's need for inefficient backup, while most other EU countries have decreased theirs. ] Over the last 30 yrs successive British Governments have in fact introduced rafts of policies that encouraged the dreadful daily waste of energy, ( "by generating more of our own energy in our own country, we will be able to insulate ourselves from shocks in international energy prices." ) The privatisation of the energy industry means that now 76% of all British generating capacity is foreign owned, ....most do not pay British tax !! ( "with the aim of creating a further 34,000 jobs" ) Please show the net gain of jobs for British workers derived from 'green policy's' or are they just more figures of imagination, like these - as confirmed by government officials: http://tinyurl.com/ajslx58

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