Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has this week argued that the UK cannot afford to be a “scavenger” of renewable energy technologies as it moves towards a net-zero economy. Speaking after meeting Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, alongside representatives of marine energy developers, Mr. Carmichael highlighted past lost opportunities for the UK to lead in the renewables industry and called on the Government to support the commercialisation of marine energy.
Mr. Carmichael said:
“Support for marine renewables represents an opportunity not just for green electricity generation in the UK but also to create a manufacturing industry and supply chain we can export around the world. It can put investment into areas of the United Kingdom which often feel far removed from the attention and interest of the national governments.”
“It was good that the Minister was prepared to meet industry representatives and that the Government remains committed to the “concept” of tidal and wave energy. I hope that there is more than a concept in play here. The industry has the technology, but needs short to medium term revenue support to reach full commercialisation. That is how it works with every new technology.
“The UK was a leader in the development of wind renewable technology, but this position was squandered through lack of Government support. Now we are often forced to buy in our turbine infrastructure, scavenging from countries which recognised the value of supporting renewable energy rollout. The UK is now leading the world again in the development of marine renewables. We cannot afford to repeat the errors of the past.”
“We must not leave such a crucial part of reaching a successful net-zero economy to be bought in from more forward-thinking countries. If we intend to be a scavenger of renewable technology rather than supporting our own innovation, then we may find that the bones have already been picked clean.”