Huhne hails renewables and hits out at ‘climate sceptics’

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Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is expected to attack “climate sceptics and armchair engineers” for criticising renewables, in a speech today on the economic benefits of green energy.

He will insist the UK government has resolved to make Britain the largest market in Europe for offshore wind.

His speech to a renewables industry conference comes in the wake of the publication of government proposals to cut subsidies for green technologies including onshore wind, although it had better news on support for offshore wind, wave and tidal power.

The solar industry is also bracing itself for an announcement on the review of feed-in tariffs that pay people for the electricity they generate from small scale renewables, which is expected to slash payments for solar electricity.

The industry claims the expected move will hit jobs and growth in the sector.

But the Energy Secretary is expected to say renewable energy technologies will deliver a new industrial revolution, creating jobs and bringing investment into the UK.

Critics claim renewable energy is expensive and unreliable and that support for it adds to consumer bills, but proponents say shifting to green power reduces the reliance on fossil fuels, which have driven recent large rises in household bills.

Mr Huhne will tell the RenewableUK conference: “Across the length and breadth of Britain, new companies are creating new jobs and delivering the technologies that will power our future.

“At a time when closures and cuts dominate the news cycle, next-generation industries are providing jobs and sinking capital into Britain.

“I want to take aim at the curmudgeons and faultfinders who hold forth on the impossibility of renewables, the climate sceptics and armchair engineers who are selling Britain’s ingenuity short.”