MEP challenges Energy Secretary over attacks on renewable industry

Molly has lambasted Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, over comments she made comparing subsidies for solar energy with the estimated £17bn government subsidy being offered to Hinkley C nuclear power station.

During an interview on proposed cuts to subsidies for solar energy, Ms Rudd admitted subsidies to the nuclear industry would exceed those going to solar, but said nuclear energy provided “a different type of electricity”. She also said that during the winter months, “solar doesn’t really deliver much electricity.”

Molly Scott Cato said that the comments revealed that Amber Rudd has failed to understand the renewables sector and its potential, particularly for the South West. Molly has written to Amber Rudd pointing her to a report she recently commissioned which outlines how the region can produce more than 100% of its energy needs from renewables alone, without the need for nuclear or fossil fuels. Dr Scott Cato said:

“I hope if Amber Rudd is to stay in her post as Energy Secretary she will spend some time educating herself about renewable energy. If she takes time to read the report she will learn about the diverse mix of renewable energy resources available in the South West and the huge potential it offers both for quality jobs and long term energy security. We don’t need nuclear to keep the lights on in the winter. That’s just plain ignorance. There are many other forms of renewable energy that we can use year-round including off-shore wind, tidal lagoon, wave energy and air and ground heat pumps for heating, just to name a few. This government’s thinking on energy is stuck in the 20th century and is driven by a desire to pander to the fossil fuel and nuclear dinosaur industries.”

Under the government’s proposals announced today, subsidies for some new solar farms will close by 2016 and small scale solar farms would no longer qualify for support under a key subsidy mechanism – the renewables obligation – from April next year. Molly Scott Cato concluded:

“It is the Tories misinformed and ideological opposition to renewable technologies that will leave us at risk of inadequate supply, since we know that nuclear and fracking cannot come on steam as rapidly as wind and solar. It will also destroy the jobs and growth potential offered by the sector.”