Energy minister discusses meeting demands in Lincoln

– Aaron Faunch contributed to this report.

Businessman from across Lincolnshire gathered to hear the government’s plans for keeping the lights on at the Lincolnshire Showground on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012.

Photo: Davie Dunn
Renewable energy suppliers and investors were brought together to discuss renewable technology and its benefits at “Green Energy Lincs 2012,” a renewable energy conference hosted by Footprint Renewables and Lincolnshire Media.

Energy minister John Hayes gave the keynote speech. He discussed how Britain is going to meet its energy demands in the future. The South Holland and Deepings MP said that the energy demands of the country are set to increase at the same time as British power plants are ageing, and will soon need replacement.

He stated that “long term stability was necessary for new investment in the UK’s energy market” and that the best way to achieve this was “through cross party consensus and the passing of the new energy bill in parliament.”

He said: “The energy bill has, at its heart, electricity market reform and the essence of that bill’s objectives is to create sufficient certainty, and to encourage people to make long term investment in energy infrastructure.”

The Lincolnshire MP added that investment for the future energy supply will be achieved by an “energy mix” and that we “should not put all of our eggs in one basket.”

With our international commitments, he said that low carbon technology was “vital” to the country’s energy mix but that a “balance must be met between admission targets, energy security and cost effectiveness.”

Hayes said: “It is inconceivable that the whole of our energy needs could be met by renewable technology, just as it is inconceivable that renewables will not play a part in the energy mix.”

It has been onshore wind, in particular, which has faced an onslaught of condemnation from politicians in the press, and Hayes has been one of the key critics. Most notably, Hayes commented in the Daily Mail that many of the planned onshore wind farms “will never be built.”

Michael Parker from RWE, a large energy and gas supplier in the UK and Europe, quizzed Hayes on his Daily Mail interview. The head of RWE’s onshore developments asked the minister whether he felt that he had created a “backdrop of uncertainty” for investors that threatened the growth of the onshore wind sector and the jobs dependent on it.

The minister answered by stating that his department had “called for evidence in cost effectiveness and community benefit” and, although his department had called for evidence directly on onshore wind, “the principles apply much more widely.”

The rest of the conference focused on how smaller businesses could benefit from renewables by getting directly involved or by reducing their energy bills. There was a particular emphasis on how farming could benefit, because of Lincolnshire’s rural tradition.

Several types of energy sources were discussed, including energy crop, biomass and anaerobic digestion, which farms could take advantage to supplement a farms arable or livestock business.

There was also discussion on how subcontractors in Lincolnshire could benefit for large offshore wind farm developments in the North Sea, which could see a new port built in the North of the county.

One Response to Energy minister discusses meeting demands in Lincoln

  1. Ken McLeod says:

    I was delighted to see Mr Hayes stand against on-shore turbines and wrote to him to say so. My problem with off-shore wind-farms is that the carnage quickly disappears so little evidence of the effectiveness of these giant killing machines survives for very long. Migratory birds and bats are being decimated obviously and the cost of this is for future generations to lament. With sock-puppet charities such as the RSPB and others in their ignorance who see these things as ‘green’ supporting the great folly, extermination of avian creatures will keep gathering momentum. Aided by government officials with vested interests in wind energy it is little wonder that the public continue to be fooled by all the hype.
    The old ‘job creation’ thing is farcical. We are still exporting our industry to the worlds largest and growing producers of CO2 and importing 100% of the large turbines you see across your countryside.
    A utility service that cannot exist without obscene incentives is no business at all.