Energy secretary Chris Huhne has admitted he is concerned about the financing of major wind farms, as the UK aims to get a third of its energy from renewables.
Mr Huhne insisted that around 2pc of the UK’s economic output has the potential to come from the emerging insulation industry as well as energy infrastructure projects in a “third industrial revolution”. But the minister described the UK as having the “worst installed rate of renewable capacity of all the 23 member states”.
Referring to the UK’s wind targets as “challenging”, Mr Huhne pledged there would be a “step change” in getting wind installed. “That is going to mean that we’re diverting a lot of attention to pick up our position from being the laggards of Europe,” he said.
But he said the Government cannot yet release plans about how renewables will be delivered. “We’ve also had worries about the financing of big renewable projects, particularly big wind farms,” he said.
A £60m pot of funding to improve port infrastructure, probably in the north-east or east of England, is under scrutiny by the Government as it works out how to save money in the Comprehensive Spending Review. However, Mr Huhne said he was committed to attracting Siemens and GE wind turbine factories with the port money.
“Given the very substantial investment that is going to have to happen in offshore wind it makes an awful lot of sense that the investment should go ahead,” he said.
Britain needs £200bn of investment by 2020 to improve its ageing energy infrastructure and move to low-carbon generation sources.
But at a CBI conference yesterday, BG group, the oil and gas giant, said the UK has enough gas storage and infrastructure to last until 2020.
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