Real vision in developing the green economy

GOOD news this week from the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey with his proposal to increase the tariff for micro-CHP installations.

Signalling the Government’s recognition of the benefits this technology could bring, this will be a welcome fillip for enterprises like Ceres Power in Horsham and hopefully encourage further development.

The DECC’s announcement follows an adjournment debate on micro-CHP potential in the House of Commons, which unfortunately I was unable to attend being in Washington on Cabinet Office business.

As Conservatives we had a strong pro-business Green narrative in Opposition and the clean energy challenge for the coalition must be to continue to show real vision.

Globally the clean energy sector’s investment hit the one trillion dollar mark by the end of 2012 and in the UK the green goods and services sector continues to help lead the recovery.

But if we are going to maintain public support for the low carbon transformation of our economy we have to show it will help cut bills, reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports and drive jobs growth here in Britain.

Take Ceres Power as an example. To date the company has directly created over 170 jobs in this sector. And as the majority of the UK’s residential heating systems will continue to be gas fired for at least a further two decades, it’s realistic to aspire to more than one million micro-CHP installations by 2020.

So the potential for infrastructure development around the UK is considerable.

But how does the environment benefit? Micro-CHP can reduce carbon emissions, alleviate strain on the electricity grid, deliver cost reductions throughout the electricity system and save consumers money.

Put another way, for every two homes in which boilers are replaced by a micro-CHP unit, the carbon savings are equivalent to taking a car off the road.

Which brings me to Climate Change Week from March 12-18. The enterprising pupils of Turners Hill C of E Primary School will be hosting visitors to inspect their recycling and composting facilities – not to mention their achievements with vegetable gardening, fruit trees and chickens!

All with the splendid aim of promoting, educating and encouraging a greener attitude amongst the wider community. This year is shaping up to be an important one for the green economy.

FRANCIS MAUDE

MP for Horsham