News - North West

Green energy presents ‘huge opportunities’, says Barker

Businesses in the North West are well placed to take advantage of the anticipated “transformational” growth in the renewable energy sector over the coming decade, according to climate change minister Greg Barker.

Speaking to Insider, he said the government was committed to delivering a green economy and creating an environment that is attractive for investors.

“We have identified renewable energy as one of the key sectors for growth over the next ten years,” he said. “It’s a vital part of our growth strategy and the investment that we expect to see in the renewable energy sector over the next ten years will be transformational.

“Along with the investment that will be unleashed in energy efficiency, I think there will be a wholesale change in the shape of energy production in the UK to make it much more innovative, competitive and decentralised.”

In December, the government unveiled its plans for a “seismic shift” towards clean energy, with low-carbon technologies set to be the dominant form of energy generation by 2030.

The plans include providing a feed-in tariff with long-term contracts in order for low carbon investors to have a guaranteed price and have more confidence about entering the market.

The UK has been slow-moving in getting its renewable industry up and running although investment has been forthcoming in the last few years, particularly in offshore wind farms. All measures will be vital if the UK is to hit its ambitious target of cutting emissions by 34 per cent by 2020.

Barker said: “The shift to renewables opens up huge opportunities for new technologies and entrepreneurial businesses. We want to create a framework so the UK is not just a good place to deploy renewable energy technologies, so we can meet our carbon targets, but also a great place to research, develop and manufacture these things.

“We want companies to invest with confidence. We’re bringing in the renewable heat incentive, we’re committed to expanding feed-in tariffs and to maintain support for science and innovation.

“We’re also creating Europe’s first green energy bank to bring in cornerstone investment into the renewable energy sector.”

Barker was visiting the North West yesterday to opened a £2m extension to the Salford headquarters of low carbon technology group ENER-G and celebrate the news that the company will create 100 new jobs in 2011.

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