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Renewable Energy

Bob Spink: To ask the Minister for Women what estimate she has made of the level of new conventional electricity generating plant needed to back up the anticipated increase in wind turbine and other climate-dependent renewable energy sources. [74398]

Mr. Wilson: Every electricity system has to have some spare capacity to deal with peaks and troughs in demand. To a considerable extent, this inbuilt flexibility also enables an electricity system to cope, without significant additional cost, with a proportion of intermittent supply alongside a proportion of non-intermittent supply.

I refer the hon. Member to the Appendix to Chapter 7 of the Energy Review produced by the Performance and Innovation Unit of the Cabinet Office (PIU) in February 2002. This reports the outcome of a survey conducted for the PIU on costs associated with intermittent generation.

The consultants employed by the PIU found that, as a rough rule of thumb, while the share of electricity supplies contributed by intermittents (for example, wind energy) remained below about 5 per cent., the system costs would be insignificant. With a share between 5 per cent. and 10 per cent., they estimated that costs might start to rise to about 0.1p/kWh. Costs would continue to increase beyond 10 per cent., perhaps rising to about 0.2p/kWh, should intermittents provide 20 per cent. of electricity.

We are considering the PIU's conclusions, as well as responses to our consultation on energy policy, as we develop the forthcoming Energy White Paper. Work is being undertaken, in particular, to improve our understanding of the complete spectrum of network-related costs arising as the share of supplies provided by intermittents rises above 10 per cent.

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action her Department is taking to increase access to export credit assistance for overseas renewable energy projects; and if she will make a statement. [74500]

Ms Hewitt: The Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have recently launched an initiative to stimulate and facilitate exports of renewable energy sector goods and services to emerging markets. This Renewables Initiative was announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 2 September 2002 in Mozambique on his way to the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development.

From April 2003, ECGD will make available cover for at least #50 million of exports each year for projects in the renewables sector which meet its minimum risk standards. ECGD will also support the DTI's Trade Promoters' outreach programme to stimulate exports of renewable energy goods and services to emerging

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markets. These activities form part of the Government—wide drive to encourage the development of power generation from renewable resources.

It is hoped that this initiative will:

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value of export credit assistance given by her Department and associated non-departmental public bodies for renewable energy projects was in each of the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement. [74499]

Ms Hewitt: The figures for the years in which ECGD has supported renewable energy projects since 1992 are as follows:

YearBusiness Amount # Million

Sustainable Development

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations the Government will make on a timetable to phase in a substantial increase on renewable energy agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development; and how this will relate to the 2015 millennium development goals. [74619]

Mr. Wilson: At the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Government supported the European Union proposal that renewables should contribute 15 per cent. of total energy use by 2010, but, in the event, no specific timetable for the expansion of renewables was agreed. All parties nevertheless accepted the urgent need to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global mix.

The Government's Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) will help developing countries limit greenhouse gas emissions by making available at least #50 million of cover for creditworthy exports from April 2003 in the renewable energy sector. The ECGD will participate in an outreach programme, run by DTI's Trade Promoters and the private sector, to stimulate exports of renewable energy goods to emerging markets to help overcome the low level of renewables applications.

The UK initiated the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), which aims to foster international collaboration in order to accelerate the growth of markets in modern renewables and energy efficiency, so as to lower costs and facilitate the removal of other policy, technology, market and regulatory barriers. We launched this in Johannesburg, and in the coming months the UK Government shall be working

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to develop this in conjunction with other partners including the Governments of Brazil, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and New Zealand, as well as Shell, the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy and WWF. The REEEP will work to keep renewable energy and energy efficiency high on the global political agenda.

The Government's renewable energy policy will contribute to section IV of the United Nations Millennium Declaration ''Protecting our common environment'', to support sustainable development, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and lessen the threat that diminishing resources will no longer meet the needs of future generations. As the REEEP objective for lowering the costs of renewable energy is achieved, renewable energy technologies will become more affordable energy options for the poor. This will contribute towards improving access to energy services, which is important to achieving the Millennium Development Goals including the halving of global poverty by 2015.

Domestically, the Government has set a target of obtaining 10 per cent. of our electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Sourcing 10 per cent. of electricity from renewable sources could result in annual savings of around 2.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2010. The Renewables Obligation, which came into force on 1 April 2002, will provide the driving force for the expansion of renewable energy in the UK. Licensed electricity suppliers will be required to obtain specified proportions of their electricity from renewable sources. The proportion will rise each year to reach the 10 per cent. target by 2010.

Increasing the market share of renewable energy is currently being considered in the context of the work being undertaken for the Government's forthcoming White Paper on the UK's future energy policy. This will be published around the start of 2003.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)

Regulations 1988

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will publish the results of her Department's review of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and the submissions which were made to that review; [73751]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Last year the Department consulted with a wide range of interested parties about the effectiveness of the Regulations. I looked carefully at the results and concluded that their main concern was on improving the enforcement of the Regulations.

To take matters forward I held two meetings with representatives from enforcement and industry.

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I was very encouraged by the progress made in both meetings. Enforcement is the key issue to ensure that consumers can be confident that the furniture they buy meets UK safety standards.

EU Structural Funds

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what the Government's policy is towards re-nationalisation of parts of the EU Structural Funds post 2006; [73992]

Alan Johnson: Although the debate on the future of European cohesion policy post-2006 has already started, very few national governments have so far committed themselves to a particular position. The Government intends to play a full part in this debate and we will shortly be launching a consultation to inform our position.

The debate has to be seen in the context of the Government's objective to improve regional and national economic performance. Following the 2002 spending review, the Government agreed a new focus for regional policy: to improve the economic performance of all regions and over the long term to reduce the persistent gaps in growth rates between them. The Government is committed to pursuing the necessary policies to achieve this target.

A key issue informing the Government's position in the debate will be the added value of the Structural Funds i.e. the extent to which this source of funding has delivered benefits over and beyond those which could have been achieved through national measures. We are collaborating with other Departments and the Devolved Administrations on research into this and other issues.

Cohesion policy has always been focused on the poorest parts of the EU and the forthcoming enlargement will therefore require a fundamental review of the policy and its application. It is clear that in future there must continue to be transfers from the richer states to the poorer, and in particular to the candidates currently negotiating for accession. However, it is too early to draw any conclusions about the overall size of the Structural Funds budget, the priorities it should address or the future distribution of the Funds amongst the Member States.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the projected nuclear liabilities bill is accounted for by the need to clean up and remediate radioactively contaminated land at nuclear sites. [73562]

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Mr. Wilson: As the White Paper explains, on current estimates the total undiscounted cost of cleaning up the nuclear legacy is some #48 billion. Of this figure, 43 per cent. is the projected cost associated with decommissioning, and 47 per cent. is the projected cost associated with the processing, storage and final disposal of waste and the environmental restoration of radioactively contaminated land. The remaining 10 per cent. represents the cost of licence compliance, site infrastructure and corporate management.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with reference to paragraphs 4.8 to 4.10 of Cm 5552, on managing the nuclear legacy, if she will make it her policy not to appoint current employees of BNFL to the Liabilities Management Authority board. [73551]

Mr. Wilson: No decisions have been taken on appointments to the LMA Board. As the White Paper makes clear, appointments will be made according to the rules set out by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointment (OCPA).

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her best estimate is of the transfer value of (a) Thorp and (b) SMP, if set in place under CM5552, Managing the Nuclear Legacy. [73561]

Mr. Wilson: Transfer of assets from BNFL will be made on a basis which reflects their value at the time the transfer is made.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the assets and liabilities allocated to the proposed Liabilities Management Authority will be (a) subject to safeguards and (b) actively safeguarded by Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency. [73565]

Mr. Wilson: The Government's policy is that all civil nuclear material in the UK should be subject to safeguarding requirements. This policy will apply in relation to all material held at sites for which the LMA is responsible.

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