Going for growth means going for green

Published on Monday, 06 February 2012 11:58
Posted by Scott Buckler

Newly-appointed Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey will hit the ground running today, joining Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in sending a clear signal that green growth and green jobs will remain at the heart of the Coalition’s strategy for economic recovery

Visiting the Building Research Establishment’s Innovation Park near Watford, a testing site for green homes, they will meet graduates considering moving into green construction jobs.

The Deputy Prime Minister will say:

The race is on to lead the world in clean, green energy. Last year we saw record-breaking global investment in renewables - outstripping the cash piled into fossil fuels. The new economic powerhouses - China, India, Korea, Brazil - are now serious contenders for that capital.

“So the choice for the UK is simple: wake up, or end up playing catch up. In today’s world the savviest states understand that going for growth means going green. Low-carbon markets are the next frontier in the battle for global pre-eminence.

“We have every reason to be confident. The combination of enviable wind, wave and tidal power, a world-beating research base and a proud history of engineering give the UK a clear competitive edge. So we’re already in pole position. But the reality is: we need to sharpen our elbows if we want to stay ahead.

“I want the UK to be the number one destination for green investment. We’re in this race to win it.”

Mr Davey, who was appointed to the Cabinet by the Prime Minister on Friday, is a trained economist and an environmental campaigner since university. He will say today:

I have long believed in the need to marry our economic and environmental agendas. Greening the economy isn't just good for the planet - it's good for the wallets, purses and pockets of every British citizen too.

“By focusing on the low carbon industries of the future we can rebalance our economy, reducing our dependence on the City of London on the one hand, and on oil and gas imports from unstable parts of the world on the other.

“My priorities are very simple: green jobs, green growth and getting the best deal for energy bill payers. My department is already implementing bold and ambitious reforms - like electricity market reform and the Green Deal - to unlock private investment, drive innovation and build a resilient, green, competitive economy. It's now my job to see those through.

“There may have been a change at the helm, but there'll be no change in direction or ambition.”


At today’s meeting of the Offshore Wind Developers’ Forum, co-chaired by DECC Minister Charles Hendry, the sector will confirm their vision that UK firms should provide more than 50% of the content of future windfarms. Having started from a low base, there is already growth in the proportion of UK content in offshore wind. For example, Robin Rigg windfarm has a UK content of 32%.

Today’s announcement reflects recent developments in the UK’s offshore wind supply chain. In December Siemens announced they are moving forward with a turbine manufacturing plant in Hull. In January the Port of Sheerness submitted a planning application for the development of the manufacturing facility proposed by Vestas. Gamesa have announced their intention to make the UK the main focus of their worldwide offshore wind business. And, just last week, David Brown, a prime example of British engineers at the cutting edge of new technology, announced a major new contract to build gearboxes for Samsung.


The Energy and Climate Change Secretary also today announced that 155 community energy projects across the country have won a share of £5.1 million of funding from the Local Energy Assessment Fund. The winning bids include projects to demonstrate wall insulation to the public, schemes to check the energy efficiency of homes and events to promote energy efficiency in local communities.

The funding comes as the Government gears up for the launch of the Green Deal later this year, the first scheme of its kind in the world, aimed at radically overhauling the energy efficiency of millions of homes across the UK.

Mr Davey said:

The big national challenges of keeping the lights on and emissions down can be tackled in small ways in our homes and local communities. These grants are designed to nurture the ideas and enthusiasm of communities up and down the country who want to cut energy use, cut emissions and save money.”


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