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Cameron repeats Green commitments

Households will be able to compare their heating bills against neighbouring properties as part of Conservative leader David Cameron's plans to raise awareness of energy efficiency.

In a speech to environmental leaders the Tory leader insisted his party was still committed to Green issues despite the pressure on the economy adding: “I am talking about completely changing the way we heat our homes, travel to work and produce our food.”

In the speech Mr Cameron emphasised his commitment to smart meters, feed-in tariffs and changing the attitudes of households.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has welcomed Mr Cameron's speech.
REA Director Philip Wolfe said: “The Conservatives are consistently advocating under the current Energy Bill for a Feed-In Tariffs for smaller, decentralised renewables to be introduced within one year.
‘With the economic climate darkening, including on energy costs, it is wise to make the case for greater investment in renewables, not less. The less we invest in UK renewables, the more exposed consumers will be to the increasingly volatile fossil fuel market.
'The energy sector certainly needs a radical steer towards low carbon generation but we need a stable long-term market and policy framework to deliver this.”
He said: “If we find out that our neighbours, or households similar to ours, are using half as much energy as we are, then we're much more likely to bring our own consumption down in line.

'So how can we help people find out how much energy they're using compared to their neighbours? There's a simple answer: energy bills.

'So I can announce that a Conservative Government will make sure every gas and electricity bill contains information that allows each household to compare their energy consumption with other households.

“Our drive for energy efficiency, with a smart meter in every home and real life energy use comparisons on every bill - these are simple and effective ways of going green and saving money.”

On decentralised energy he said: “One important way of accelerating that move away from dependence on imported oil and gas is to increase domestic renewable energy. Last year, we announced our plans for a decentralised energy revolution.

'Make no mistake about what a massive change this is. For decades, producing energy in Britain has largely been the responsibility of government and big energy companies, and largely been reliant on fossil fuels.

'Our way is different. Not one based solely on large energy providers but based also on small, local providers - homes, businesses, hospitals and schools - producing energy for their own use, and getting paid for it. Not one based on fossil fuels…but one based on cleaner - and cheaper - energy sources like combined heat and power, and solar.

'We will introduce a new system of 'feed-in tariffs', by which people are paid for the energy they produce. It's worked in Germany - where they now have over 200,000 people working in the renewable industry sector. And it can work over here: a huge increase in micro-generation thanks to our decentralised energy revolution.”

Mr Cameron said the Conservatives were not opposed to expanding nuclear power, but were opposed to “blank cheque subsidies”. He also said proper support had to be offered to research carbon capture and storage (CCS) and argued that the UK should adopt the California model for managing electricity generation.

He said: “I can announce today that a Conservative Government will follow the Californian model, and implement an Emissions Performance Standard. This would mean the carbon emissions rate of all electricity generated in our country cannot be any higher than that generated in a modern gas plant. Such a standard would mean that a new generation of unabated coal power plants could not be built in this country.

'And I can also announce that a Conservative Government would take money from the auctioned EU Emissions Trading Scheme credits and use it to fund at least three CCS demonstration projects over the next five to ten years.”

Mr Cameron said the UK could not afford not to go Green. He said: “I'm talking about bringing into everyday use technologies that are still in laboratories and developing in the laboratory technologies that haven't even been thought of yet. Of course this won't happen overnight. But it won't happen at all without public and political will. That is the great challenge for our generation.

“We are not going to drop the environmental agenda in an economic downturn. But neither will we ignore the rising cost of living and the fact that people are hurting. So we will take forward our green agenda in a way that strengthens the economy - not 'green' or 'growth', but both.”