Ed Davey’s clean energy investment challenge



In his opening remarks at the third annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey has today called on the Government and businesses to “lead the low-carbon transition”.

Addressing 23 energy ministers from some of the world’s biggest economies on the day that it was formally announced that the UK economy was in a double-dip recession, Davey said that despite difficult financial circumstances, the push for a green economy led by clean energy was entirely achievable.

It is a concept not lost on an increasing number of financial giants such as Wells Fargo, which recently announced a $30 billion commitment to green investment.

Over the past few years, the global low-carbon sector has outshone the rest of the economy”, Davey said in the investment section of his short address.

In 2011, the trillionth dollar was invested in clean energy; investment in renewables now outstrips investment in fossil fuels.

But as major economies face tougher fiscal conditions, indications suggest growth has slowed.”

Despite investment in clean energy surging in 2011, with £5.9 billion injected into the sector, the first quarter of 2012 showed a lull.

Davey added that a strong governmental agenda was needed to ensure that the renewable energy market thrives, and to enable low-carbon businesses and sectors to form the cornerstone of our future economy. But talk is cheap.

Our challenge is to make sure investment in clean energy soars, even if the wider economy is sluggish”, he said.

Government cannot do this alone: we do not have the reach, or the balance sheet.

So we must create the right frameworks for investment, sending clear signals to the businesses who will lead the low-carbon transition”.

We must encourage innovation, and do what we can to bring clean technologies to market.”

Nice sentiments but not entirely in-keeping with the government’s fumbling of the feed-in tariff scheme, which has only served to confuse the sector.

Ed Gill, head of external affairs at Good Energy recently told Blue & Green Tomorrow: “The planned feed-in tariff Contract for Difference is a very poor instrument for attracting [] investors, because it’s so complex and inaccessible. It might be fine in theory, but it just leaves too many people scratching their heads, including those inside the DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change).”

Davey will give an environmental address at the CEM tomorrow in place of David Cameron, who yesterday cut his own talk and is yet to deliver a keynote speech on the environment whilst in charge of the country.

The PM’s contribution will now come in the form of “remarks at the beginning of the event’s second day on April 26.

There are high expectations for Cameron’s brief cameo at the CEM, but it is likely that it will once again be left to the energy secretary—this time Ed Davey— to attempt to rebuild trust in green policies, which have so far underwhelmed and under-performed.

Further reading:

Cameron’s cowardly decision to cut keynote environment speech

UK renewable investment surged in 2011

An unsustainable budget

Huhne successor must “rebuild trust” in energy policies


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