Don Foster MP


The Energy Bill - Liberal Democrats delivering on Energy Policy

This week the coalition reached an agreement on energy policy that will unlock millions of pounds of investment in our region, create thousands of jobs and ensure we have cleaner, affordable electricity for generations. Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Davey announced proposals that will attract £110 billion of investment to the UK and support 250,000 new jobs.

You may not realise it but our energy infrastructure – our power stations and heavy duty network of connecting cables – is aging and in desperate need of an upgrade for the 21st century. A fifth of our power stations will close in the next 10 years and they need replacing and we need new cables to connect these new installations to the grid. Some experts have warned that if we don’t get on with it we may have power shortages so the Government is pressing ahead with once in a generation changes that will keep the lights on, help the environment and keep household bills lower than they would otherwise be.

Not only that, we have been relying on fossil fuels for years. We all know that they damage the environment and pollute the atmosphere. You’d be forgiven for thinking that we are well on our way to making our electricity clean but we have a long way to go and the transformation will take decades. For instance, last month 67% of our electricity came from fossil fuels and just 7% from renewables.

As we run down the gas that the UK has in the North Sea we are becoming more reliant on importing gas which is increasingly expensive on world markets. The Liberal Democrats have long argued that it makes far more sense to make electricity at home from our own resources such as the wind, waves and the sun. So these changes will mean we have more renewables - they are cleaner, cost next to nothing to run once they are built and mean we don’t have to rely on gas from unstable parts of the world.

The Coalition’s policies have already delivered £389 million investment in the South West with 1296 jobs in renewable projects and that is just the tip of the iceberg. We have many opportunities in Bath and the surrounding area to attract the investment into new energy projects that create jobs that we need.

In the long run these reforms will mean that we are all protected from rising world gas prices which currently make up around 50% of the average household bill as we get make more of our electricity from our natural resources here at home. They will also mean that we pump less harmful carbon into the atmosphere and really start tackling to root causes of climate change and pollution. Finally and most importantly, it will mean all our homes and businesses will be able to flick a switch with the confidence that the lights will come on.

Liberal Democrats in government have got a good deal for consumers, industry and the environment, helping to secure a stronger economy and fairer society for now and for future generations.

To see in detail a map of renewable investments and jobs created from the DECC between April 2011 & July 2012 click here.

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