Aldous welcomes Energy Bill opportunities

Waveney MP Peter Aldous has welcomed the Energy Bill and the economic and regeneration opportunities that will be opened up in Suffolk by a move to a balanced mix of nuclear and low-carbon energy production.

In his contribution to the debate Mr Aldous spoke of the huge potential in East Anglia and the Waveney constituency. He identified EDFs consultation for the construction of Sizewell and ScottishPower and Vattenfall’s recent planning application for the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm, the first of six potential projects in the East Anglia zone.

Commenting after the debate, Peter said:
“I was very pleased to contribute to this debate on an issue that is of great importance to the economic regeneration of the Waveney area. I will continue to do all I can to promote our area and work with businesses and local people to secure the investment needed to ensure this sector offers jobs and growth for Waveney.”

FULL TEXT:

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): To my mind this is the most important Bill to come before the House in this Parliament, and if we get it right the rewards are significant. We will develop a secure energy supply for a generation—a supply that is home-grown, made in Britain and clean, and that means we are less vulnerable to fluctuations in the price of oil and gas on global markets. The move to low-carbon energy production could be the catalyst that ignites the green economy and provides the growth that we all want to get the country moving.

I see that potential in my own backyard, in East Anglia and my Waveney constituency. Last month, EDF launched its consultation for the construction of Sizewell C in the constituency of my neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey). This week, ScottishPower and Vattenfall have submitted their planning application for the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm, the first of six potential projects in the East Anglia zone.

Low-carbon energy supply is the foundation stone on which a green economy can be built. It will enable us to rebalance the economy away from a reliance on the service sector, and provides the opportunity to regenerate parts of the country—often coastal communities—that we have left out in the cold for too long. The New Anglia local enterprise partnership recognised that opportunity in its green economy pathfinder manifesto, which outlines the significant growth potential that Norfolk and Suffolk possess. It is important that the Government provide the framework within which that growth can be unleashed.

The Bill sets about providing the framework and achieves the right balance of transforming our electricity market and minimising cost and consumer bill increases. It shifts our energy supply from largely fossil-fuelled power stations to a balanced mix of nuclear and renewables, and makes the electricity market more attractive to smaller, independent generators and suppliers. I welcome the investment and commitment shown by companies such as EDF, ScottishPower, Vattenfall and SSE, but it is important that we ensure the market is open to smaller community providers.

The Bill is a welcome move forward and provides the country with a great opportunity, but this is a complicated subject and the devil is in the detail. The Energy and Climate Change Committee pre-scrutinised the Bill and made recommendations, some of which the Government have taken on board. It is important that that spirit of co-operation continues in the Public Bill Committee. Issues such as whether there should be a decarbonisation target need to be considered carefully. I will not vote for the reasoned amendment, because the Bill points firmly in the right direction, but I ask the Minister for an assurance that that target will be considered fully in Committee and in the necessary evidence sessions. There is a view that setting a decarbonisation target now will help to develop the supply chains of businesses—this country’s businesses—that can and should build and install wind turbines and construct nuclear power stations. Suffolk is on the cusp of being home to two of the largest construction projects in the world. I want local businesses and local people to benefit. We need to provide every encouragement, and to nurture that local supply chain.

Last year, the Aldersgate Group, of which I am a member, produced a pamphlet, “Greening the Economy: A strategy for growth, jobs and success”, which expressed the view that the Government must provide long-term policy frameworks with a different combination of market-pull and supply-push interventions. That approach has helped to drive Germany’s renewable sector, made silicon valley a centre of technological innovation, and built South Korea’s high-tech manufacturing virtually from scratch. A great deal of work remains to be done, but the Bill has the potential to be a similar catalyst in this country. Let’s get on with it.

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Surgeries

Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgeries - 2018:
Beccles, Saturday 3rd February

 

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