Energy innovation key, says Clark

1st December 2016

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Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Generation ,
  • Renewable


Carly Merrett

Business secretary Greg Clark has pledged to back innovation in the energy sector to reduce the impact humans have on the planet.

He told the annual Energy UK Conference that developing a low-carbon economy would form the basis of the government’s industrial strategy.

‘We must harness new technology to deliver more secure, cleaner energy at a lower cost,’ he said, citing super-efficient lightbulbs, less polluting forms of electricity generation and electric vehicles as ways to achieve this.

Moreover, the merging of the business and energy and climate change portfolios to create the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which Clark heads, had put action on climate change at the centre of Britain’s economic future. ‘The debate about whether to reduce emissions is over,’ he said.

‘The question, post the Paris agreement, is how you make it happen, and in so doing, how to capture the huge economic opportunity of climate change action for UK businesses. That is why bringing together climate, energy, business and industrial strategy is so important. Indeed, the imperative to act on the low-carbon economy will underpin our industrial strategy.’

Clark argued that cutting pollution and protecting consumers were not incompatible, but warned that transforming the energy system needed to be economically viable. ‘We need the cheap option to be the clean option,’ he said.

He warned that subsidies would not be available for all renewable technologies and that only those with the potential to scale up and for costs to fall would be backed: ‘That means offshore wind and nuclear have a big role to play, alongside greater interconnection with grids in neighbouring countries.’ He did not expect Brexit to alter the advantages of linking the UK electricity market to those in the rest of Europe because this trade was mutually beneficial.

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