Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, today challenged the Government to commit to ensure that marine and tidal energy is part of the Government’s Energy Strategy. A white paper is a guide on the Government’s strategy and policy for responding to specific issues, one on Energy has been expected for some time.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Can I thank the Minister for meeting with me last month? We are now engaging with the treasury on the issue of revenue support for the sector, and any support she can give to that would be very welcome. In the meantime, we have the prospect of the Energy White Paper coming up. Will she use her office to ensure that the potential for marine renewable energy generation is fully recognised when that white paper comes to publication?
Responding on behalf of the Government the Energy Minister, the Rt. Hon. Claire Perry MP, said:
“I don’t want to pre-empt the white paper, but one of the things we will show in that is how the ongoing attempts to be technology neutral to try and work across the piece to generate low cost, low carbon and highly competitive technologies will be part of that. We remain interested in marine and tidal as the Rt. Hon. Gentleman knows. Of course we need to discuss with the Treasury any support mechanisms, but I do want to continue to engage with the sector on a long term basis.
Speaking after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael added:
“White papers outline Government’s thinking on policy areas, and are a key stage in influencing decisions made by Ministers. Getting something in the White paper on support for the wave and tidal energy would be a huge coup for the industry which is big in the Northern Isles.
“The marine energy industry is an innovative area of research, with the potential to add even more to our ability to export renewable energy to mainland Scotland. If the Minister is committed to what she said about the policy now being ‘technology neutral’ then marine renewables should get a fair chance to be heard.
“With a little more understanding and investment from central Government, I believe we will soon reach a point where this industry can support itself, and provide stable, well paid and skilled jobs for many in Orkney and Shetland.”