Thangam Debbonaire speaking in Parliament
Thangam Debbonaire speaking in Parliament

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is an opportunity to lead the world in renewable energy technology, but Government ministers seem indifferent to the huge environmental and economic benefits of this project.

Today in the House of Commons I continued to challenge the Government on this by asking the Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom about when the Government will announce their decision on the Lagoon. I also asked her schedule a debate on renewable energy.

The Swansea Bay project could generate a significant proportion of our power. Building it also has the potential to create 2,000 skilled jobs. Perhaps most importantly, it would give the UK expertise in tidal power which it could export around the world, multiplying the economic and environmental benefits of the scheme.

Critics of the project argue it is too expensive. I believe such arguments are tragically short sighted. In the 1970s Denmark started investing in hugely expensive wind power. Danish companies are now at the forefront of this technology, while wind generates more than two fifths of power in the country. In other words, the investment paid off. Britain has built successful renewable energy industries, but we must continue to invest to be at the forefront of this global race.

Unfortunately, the Leader of the House sidestepped my questions. Meanwhile, the world is watching the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon with interest, according to climate change economist Lord Nicholas Stern. I will continue to press the Government to make real progress in these areas. The ever-increasing danger of climate change means we must instil a real sense of urgency into the government – something which is currently lacking.

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is an opportunity to lead the world in renewable energy technology, but Government ministers seem indifferent to the huge environmental and economic benefits of this project. Today in the House of Commons I continued to challenge the Government on this by asking the Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom about when the Government will announce their decision on the Lagoon. I also asked her schedule a debate on renewable energy. The Swansea Bay project could generate a significant proportion of our power. It also has the potential to create 1,000 jobs in its construction and maintenance. Perhaps most importantly, it would give the UK expertise in tidal power which it could export around the world, multiplying the economic and environmental benefits of the scheme. Critics of the project argue it is too expensive. I believe such arguments are tragically short sighted. In the 1970s Denmark started investing in hugely expensive wind power. Danish companies are now at the forefront of this technology, while wind generates more than two fifths of power in the country. In other words, the investment paid off. Britain has built successful renewable energy industries, but we must continue to invest to be at the forefront of this global race. Unfortunately, the Leader of the House sidestepped my questions. Meanwhile, the world is watching the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon with interest, according to climate change economist Lord Nicholas Stern. I will continue to press the Government to make real progress in these areas. The ever-increasing danger of climate change means we must instil a real sense of urgency into the government – something which is currently lacking.

Posted by Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West on Thursday, 21 June 2018

Transcript below

SPEAKER: Thangam Debbonaire.

THANGAM: Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Leader of the House mentioned the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, saying an announcement would be made ‘soon’, which I don’t think is good enough, for the thousands of highly-skilled manufacturing and technical jobs across South Wales and the West Country.

Moreover, renewable energy is the energy of the future, it will power our future manufacturing industries. So can we have a debate, in government time, on the renewable energy industry?

LEADER OF THE HOUSE: Well the Hon. Lady will be aware that we are ensuring that the UK has a diverse, secure and affordable energy mix. We’re looking very carefully at the potential to harness the UK’s resources, to make our energy mix sustainable and affordable for the future. So through competition and innovation, the leadership we have shown has led to dramatic reductions in the cost of renewable energy projects. So for example, the cost of offshore wind has halved, meaning we can secure a larger amount of electricity generation for every pound of billpayers’ money. That’s absolutely essential.

And the UK is doing incredibly well, right across European terms and world terms, in renewables. With regards to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project, as I’ve said, BEIS continue to look into this with Welsh devolved administration ministers, and will come forward as soon as they can.

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