Davey pledges policy driver for creative clean tech

Energy secretary Ed Davey has launched the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) by pledging that the UK will develop a policy framework with ministers worldwide that supports clean tech innovation.

Speaking today (April 25) at the opening of this week’s third CEM in London, Mr Davey said that the right frameworks for investment must be put in place in order to strengthen global renewable energy infrastructure and help businesses bring clean technologies to market.

Despite a year of turbulence for the UK renewables industry, the minister promised that the UK stands for “ambitious action on climate change”, adding that the Government will work with its partners to deliver a “cleaner, safer energy future for our citizens – and a vibrant green economy for our businesses”.

As part of today’s events, a host of new funds have been unveiled, including £35m for Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, £3m for heat storage innovation and an online low-carbon funding navigator launched.

This follows on from an announcement made earlier this week by DECC that the UK and US will partner under a Memorandum of Understanding agreement on a floating wind turbine project.

However, Mr Davey noted that the tougher financial climate had resulted in a greater challenge for businesses looking to secure low-carbon investment and said that this makes the task set by the CEM more urgent. As a result, he said that governments will need to be more ambitious in the way they communicate.

He said: “We need to commit to our vision of a cleaner future – and show people what that future will hold. The benefits that clean energy will bring, for those who need it – and those who develop it.

“We should state more strongly the business case for going green. Efficiency policies are unashamedly good for growth: using less resources lowers operating costs and frees up capital.”

Mr Davey also said he believed that the transition to low-carbon would also help improve energy security by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and guard against the “worst economic impacts of climate change”. He also said innovation must be encouraged and that a “sluggish” economy must not stop progress. 

This echoes the results of a recent report on climate change by the OECD, which revealed that the financial and environmental cost of inaction on climate change is set to grow and that delaying is not an option.

While many of the announcements made so far have been welcomed by industry, the Renewable Energy Association called for the chancellor to attend – following news that prime minister David Cameron had abandoned plans to speak on green energy.

REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “The Treasury has been marginalising renewable energy, but evidence in the UK and from around the world shows renewable energy should be at the heart of Government’s growth strategy.

“We recommend the chancellor attends the Clean Energy Ministerial. The potential for renewable energy to stimulate much needed growth and employment is understood by the major economies attending this important event today. The UK should be taking this major economic opportunity every bit as seriously.”

Carys Matthews

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