Sunday, December 26, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 28th December 2010

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
It seems like an early Christmas present for the green movement. Energy secretary Chris Huhne’s announcement last week that the government intends to make reforms to the market so that renewables will be more profitable than fossil fuel energy.

There are plans for enormous wind farms around our shores. The Thanet array, visible to us here in Deal on a good day, is currently the largest off shore wind farm in the world but it will be dwarfed by future installations off the East Coast.

As well as helping to meet our low carbon electricity needs of the future – we need to produce 30% of our electricity from renewables by 2020 – these wind farms represent a chance to rebuild our ailing economy after the recent banking crisis. This also means the chance to generate up to 25,000 much-needed jobs in this new industry.

Towns that were once the heart of the fishing industry, such as Grimsby, are eager to take the opportunity to make their towns prosperous once again by investing in an industry which will create real jobs, both during construction and for maintenance when the turbines are up and running.

But there are worries. The government is not leading strongly enough; it is not co-ordinating the emerging industry and British firms may not get enough of the work that will ensue. Foreign companies are queuing up for the chance to invest, heavily subsidised by their governments, while British companies are being refused loans by banks that have been bailed out by the taxpayer.

The government’s promised green investment bank has not materialised. Another victim of the recession, we hear, from Mr. Huhne but short-term thinking will not bring us out of this recession. We need jobs, real jobs that will help to create the low carbon society of the future.

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