A low carbon future?

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan may not be the most exciting or attention-grabbing title but the statement today from Ed Miliband had some excellent stuff in it.

As I’ve mentioned before I have a company in my constituency, Garrad Hassan, which lays claim to being the world’s leading wind energy consultancy. They will welcome this, I’m sure, as it’s what they’ve been lobbying for:

To deliver the changes in our energy supplies between now and 2020, we must make it easier for investors to turn low-carbon projects into reality. Having tackled the planning rules, I believe we now need to do more to deal with the issue of grid connection, so I am today announcing that I will exercise the reserve powers provided under the Energy Act 2008 for Government, rather than the regulator, to set the grid access regime. The new rules should be in place within 12 months, so that instead of waiting for more than a decade for grid connection, as can happen now, we can get the fast access to the grid that renewable projects need.”

And this:

“We also need to nurture the offshore wind industry, in which we have a unique resource, so I am making available up to £120 million to support the growth of a world-leading offshore wind industry in Britain. As well as supporting the demonstration and testing of offshore wind, the money will be used to attract offshore wind manufacturers to the UK. We estimate that those investments will help to nurture industries that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country. We can make that investment today only because, even in the tough times, we made the choice to invest in the economy of the future.”

More good stuff on feed-in tariffs, rail electrification, moving forward on the Severn barrage. I’ll be spending the next few weeks trying to find out more about what this means for Bristol and what more we need to do to ensure we can be part of this. We’re obviously well-placed, with Forum for the Future’s Sustainable City work (e.g. the home insulation scheme), and with a host of SMEs in the ‘green economy’ sector, and what could simply be characterised as the right mindset – people and businesses who care about the environment, who are prepared to make adjustments to their own behaviour and lifestyles and indeed are keen to do so, but look to Government to provide encouragement and incentives, and to remove the obstacles which prevent progress being made.

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