UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today opened the British Business Embassy on Energy Summit and announced that the government was seeking “nothing less than a clean, green, low carbon economy”.
The summit is the first of two days focusing on energy that are among 18 global business meetings being organised by UK Trade & Investment while the Olympic Games are being held in Britain.
Clegg said that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition was “unreservedly committed to helping our low carbon sector thrive”.
“There is a global energy revolution underway and the UK is not going to be left behind,” he added. “We’re leading from the front. Together we find ourselves at the vanguard of one of the most dynamic, most innovative, most important industries of our time.”
He also announced government contracts by UK Green Investments, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to provide £100m of initial funding to specialist fund managers Equitix and Sustainable Development Capital, which will seek to attract foreign and domestic investment in energy projects.
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey also spoke at the event and maintained that there were “massive long-term investment opportunities” in the UK power market.
“Whether it’s our surging renewables sector or North Sea oil and gas exploration, new nuclear power or carbon capture and storage, there has never been a more exciting time to be in the UK energy sector. I am determined to maintain our reputation as a stable destination for energy investment,” he said.
The energy summit comes as the UK has suffered several blows to the “stable” reputation talked up by Davey.
RWE and E.ON pulled out of a partnership project to build new nuclear power plants and so far no-one has stepped into their shoes, while wind turbine manufacturer Vestas scrapped plans for a factory in England.
And the government’s own Energy Select Committee has stated that a lack of clarity in the coalition’s Energy Bill, which seeks to stimulate investment in low carbon power generation, will in fact deter investors.