Renewable energy for a greener society
Climate change is getting worse and is damaging our way of life. Our children will suffer most if we don't act now.
I and my Lib Dem colleagues believe that there is a huge opportunity to get out of this recession by going green, strengthening the economy, creating new jobs and improving the quality of people's lives.
Ordinary people are struggling to pay their rising fuel bills, as a direct result of increases in wholesale cost of diminishing oil and gas reserves.
- Liberal Democrats believe energy companies should simplify the complicated tangle of different tariffs, requiring them to charge families less for a basic amount of energy used, to encourage responsible use.
- We believe there should also be a fair social tariff system for disadvantaged families, smart meters should be rolled out to all households within five years and all of Britain's homes should be insulated to a decent standard within 10 years.
- We think the requirements of Building Regulations should be raised to ensure that all new homes are energy efficient and use "Green Loans"™ to encourage people to invest in home energy efficiency and micro-renewables.
Liberal Democrats are pushing for a comprehensive programme of investment in renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar. The National Grid should be transformed into a smart decentralised grid which would respond dynamically to the changing patterns of energy demand. Smart metering and guaranteed prices will unlock the potential of local and community energy generation, giving people control over the energy they use.
In Europe, we're working to develop a "super-grid" network of power supplies that efficiently shunt clean renewable energy from offshore wind farms and other sources to the places where it is needed, to ease the pressure on conventional coal and gas power plants, and reduce the need for new nuclear power stations. By making these connections we can balance out supply and demand, cutting the costs of renewable power generation through greater flexibility and efficiency. Crucially, we can begin to end our dependence on unstable supplies of gas from Russia, which is vulnerable to political disputes which have resulted in the past of the taps simply being turned off.
This is a prime example of the benefits for the UK from working across borders with our neighbours to get the best deal for our consumers, protect ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels supplied from unstable parts of the world, and help the environment.
Investing now in the green technologies for the future delivers hundreds of thousands of new and better jobs in the UK for years to come.
We prioritise achieving a global agreement providing leadership for an international framework that will enable each country to manage a transition to a low-carbon economy. We believe it is vital to help developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
I welcome today's formal launch of the coalition's "Green Deal", a product of a long standing Lib Dem policy that I helped to develop, believing that households should be encouraged and supported to make investments in energy efficiency, cutting their energy bills, saving money in the long run, and helping the environment at the same time.
This also creates employment opportunities for more contractors and registered tradesmen to carry out these energy efficiency upgrades, the upfront costs of this are paid by the energy companies, and the homeowner pays back through a small premium covered by the reductions in their monthly fuel bills.
Boost greener biofuels, but don't put existing plants at risk October 18, 2012 9:45 PM Phil Bennion has grown bio-mass crops on his farm in Staffordshire Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion has welcomed a planned boost to greener 'next generation' biofuels in a draft policy document launched this week by the European Commission.
But the West Midlands MEP, who is also a farmer and agronomist, warned that the new EU regime should not be a violent U turn that puts recently built 'first generation' plants at risk of closure.