Energy Secretary Ed Davey said in a speech to the Lib Dem conference he has “no time” for green investment sceptics and claimed the green economy will “put a cushion between the bills people actually pay and world energy prices”.
His comments came the day ahead of a Lib Dem conference vote which was overwhelmingly in favour of 2030 decarbonisation targets.
Declaring that his job is “fighting for greener growth”, the Energy Secretary yesterday attacked the Labour Party’s “poor” record on energy for leaving “Ageing energy infrastructure, increasing energy imports, and rocketing energy bills”.
The Cabinet member who has clashed with Chancellor George Osborne over cuts to spending on renewables said: “I have no time for the sceptics who say we can’t afford green investment. It’s good that the Government’s growth push is on building – like railways, like housing. But the green energy opportunity is even greater. For the rest of this decade we need to spend more on investment in our power grid than we do on roads and rail combined… Energy is half, yes half, of all Britain’s planned infrastructure investment.”
Comparing energy investment in the UK to the building work done for the Olympics, he said: “Industry knows this will stimulate the investment the economy needs. Our reforms will unlock billions of private investment in energy produced here in the UK: wind, marine, solar hydro, nuclear and carbon capture and storage.”
Referring to descriptions of himself as a “safe pair of hands” when he came into the job, he said some people wanted him to “play anything but safe” with energy policy: “They want me to risk Britain’s energy policy on one solution – one technology. Bet the economy on nuclear. Gamble UK plc only on renewables. Play Russian roulette with shale gas. Well, these safe hands won’t take those kind of risks with jobs and Britain’s growth.”