Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Conservatives' plan for a 'Green technology recovery'

George Osborne has set out a series of measures that could be introduced in next week’s Budget and would bring about a green technology revolution in Britain.
The Shadow Chancellor stressed, “The Budget is not just an opportunity to help people now; it’s also a chance to chart a new course for the future.”

And he outlined a series of policies to “kick-start a green recovery” built on new technologies developed and manufactured in Britain:
  • A £6,500 energy efficient entitlement for every home in Britain
  • Funding at least three carbon capture and storage pilots (2)
  • The introduction of feed-in tariffs (4) and smart meters (3) to encourage homes to microgenerate using wind turbines and solar power
  • A national recharging network for electric vehicles (5)
  • Beginning work on a new high-speed rail network (6)
  • Investing in the creation of an electricity internet (7)
  • Providing government loan guarantees to companies investing in green technologies
  • Creating the world’s first environmental trading market
  • Introducing a network of Marine Energy Parks
  • Building an offshore DC cable network (10)
George stressed their plan “could transform Britain”: “It would unleash £30 billion of new private sector investment, without adding a penny to the national debt. It would lay the path to a greener future. And it would help build a future economy where we save and invest for tomorrow instead of borrow and spend for today.”
More detail
2. Fund at least three Carbon Capture and Storage projects The Government should announce that it will use part of its receipts from the EU Emissions trading Scheme to fund the installation of Carbon Capture and Storage equipment and pipeline networks for at least 5GW of new coal-fired power plant. Gordon Brown has failed to grasp the CCS opportunity, by only running one slow and narrowly defined pilot project and passing up any real chance of industry leadership by green-lighting more unabated coal power to be merely 'CCS ready'.
3. Smart Meters Bring forward the roll out of innovative new technology smart meters into every home to give homes and businesses more control over their energy consumption and help reduce bills. These smart meters will allow the public to monitor the energy consumption of their appliances in real time, and compare their energy usage with similar homes.
4. Bring forward the introduction of Feed in Tariffs Bring forward the introduction of feed in tariffs for both renewable electricity and heat, as proposed by Conservatives and as already legislated for in the Energy Act. The revenue stream from these tariffs will help people lower their energy bills and give the long term market certainty that homes and businesses need to secure finance.
5. Create a national recharging network for electric vehicles. By designating electric vehicle recharging points as regulated assets, introduce incentives for energy companies to invest ahead of need and establish a new recharging network across the UK. This will enable Britain to lead the world in replacing traditional cars with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
6. Begin work on a new high speed rail network The Government should adopt Conservative plans for to build a new high speed rail network, initially between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds - with the private sector finance making a contribution towards the cost of the project.
7. Invest in the creation of an electricity internet It is time to bring our electricity grid out of the 1950’s by adding computing intelligence through the introduction of a smart grid, allowing demand and supply to be intelligently managed and paving the way for large-scale use of renewable energy sources.
10. Build an offshore DC cable network Require the National Grid to construct a new network of under-sea Direct Current (DC) cables, which will run like bootlaces down each side of the British coastline, allowing offshore renewable developments to access the electricity grid. This will reduce one of the primary cost raising risks for offshore wind and marine power.
Examples of private sector investment triggered by these measures:
  • £20 billion: If 1 million homes per year over the next 10 years were retrofitted with an average of £2,000 of energy efficiency improvements.
  • £5 billion: Private sector investment to build a new high speed rail link, in conjunction with government funding. .
  • £3 billion: Private sector investment in carbon-captured coal fired power stations, made possible by government carbon capture and storage projects and networks, funded from the proceeds of the EU ETS.
  • £2 billion: Installation of smart meters in every home.