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"Britain must look forward or risk getting left behind"

18 December 2012

RenewableUK has welcomed a speech by the Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change outlining the importance of investing in the low-carbon energy technologies of the future.

Tim Yeo MP called on the Government to show greater leadership in establishing a world beating low-carbon energy market in the UK and compared the leadership Britain took in the early part of the 20th century, in investing in the first integrated national electricity grid in the world, with the current mixed signals being sent from Government. In addition, Mr Yeo also warned of the advances being made by countries like China and Germany and the dangers of the UK being left behind, with Germany already getting 25% of its electricity from renewables.

Mr Yeo said: “As Chairman of the Commons Energy Committee I think the choice facing Britain is clear. We can embrace the technology of the future, set a target to reduce our present heavy dependence on fossil fuels and upgrade our electricity system. Or we can cling to the combustion-based technologies of the past, gamble the future on assumptions about the availability of abundant cheap gas and slow down the process of decarbonising our economy. Britain must look forward or risk getting left behind”.

RenewableUK Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said: The Government should take notice of this clarion call from Tim Yeo, as he speaks with great authority on energy issues. His comments highlight the need for the UK to stand up and be counted as a growing number of countries seek to decarbonise their energy markets and secure a clean and abundant source of energy for the future. A clear decarbonisation target for the way we generate our electricity by 2030 is essential to achieving this.

Mr Yeo’s comments chime perfectly with the high level of popular support we continue to see for renewables from the British public, and are yet another reminder of the need for the Government to create a positive long term framework for a 21st century low-carbon economy.

These comments come on the same day as the launch of a new study by the consumer watchdog body, Consumer Focus, Who Pays? which states that: “consumers believe there should be greater investment in renewables, especially to ensure security of supply and reduce reliance on imported gas”. The report accuses some politicians and the media of “often exaggerating costs” of renewables.

On Monday, the Energy Secretary Edward Davey highlighted the cost of fossil fuels, when he told the Fair Energy Summit in London that wholesale gas prices have doubled since 2007.



  1. Full Speech by Tim Yeo MP can be found here:
  2. More details on the Consumer Focus report:
  3. The Energy Secretary’s speech can be found here:


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RenewableUK is the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, specialising in onshore wind, offshore wind and wave & tidal energy. Formed in 1978, we have an established, large corporate membership ranging from small independent companies, to large international corporations and manufacturers. Acting as a central point of information and a united, representative voice for our membership, we conduct research; find solutions; organise events, facilitate business development, and promote wind and marine renewables to government, industry, the media and the public. Our vision is for renewable energy to play a leading role in powering the UK.

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