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Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have been in close contact with the German government on the development of IRENA. We participated in the preparatory meetings last year and at both the Founding Conference on 26 January and the first session of the Preparatory Commission of IRENA on 27 January.
(i) how IRENA can make a stronger contribution to the roll-out and deployment of renewables;
(ii) how we can broaden the membership to include key Asia-Pacific countries (e.g. Canada, China, Japan, India and the US) to ensure that the Agency has true global reach; and
(iii) how we can make sure that IRENA works closely with, and avoids overlap and duplication with, other international bodies and organisations, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), of which the UK is already a member.
We will continue to participate in the further preparatory meetings this year with a view to joining shortly. We plan to reach a final decision on UK membership of IRENA once we have satisfactorily concluded our discussions with the German government.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consideration his Department gave to extending the availability of Low Carbon Buildings Programme grants to commercial and public sector applicants to mid-2010. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 has been open since January 2007 and has committed £27 million to public sector and not for profit organisations' projects. The programme is due to close to new applications in June 2009 but a significant amount of work will be ongoing for installers through to mid 2010. We would like to see as many eligible organisations such as public sector organisations making maximum use of the grants programme up to June 2009.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much of the £50 million allocated to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 2 has been committed to projects. 
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect on the renewables sector of the planned closure of phase 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme in June 2009. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Low Carbon Buildings programme Phase 2 has been open since January 2007 and has so far committed over £27 million to 1,433 projects. Although the money will be committed up to June 2009 a significant amount of work will be completed for the period through to mid 2010. We would like to see framework suppliers and eligible organisations making maximum use of the grants programme up to June 2009. We are considering the next steps post June 2009.
Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take to encourage community groups to install low-carbon energy and energy efficiency technologies in their buildings after the end of phase two of the Low Carbon Buildings programme; what steps he is taking to assist community groups to use such technologies; and if he will make a statement. 
We would like eligible organisations to make maximum use of the grants programme up to June 2009. Although the money will be committed up to June 2009 a significant amount of work will be completed for the period through to mid 2010.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many grant applications the low carbon buildings programme has received from households in (a) Hemel Hempstead and (b) Hertfordshire since the programme was established. 
|Technology||Householder grant applications received|
|Technology||Householder grant applications received|
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he will reply to the hon. Member for Weston-Super-Mare's letters of 20 October 2008, 18 November 2008 and 5 January 2009 on behalf of his constituent, Ms Janette Dalbeith. 
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the Minister of State plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 2 December 2008 about an application for a Government grant. 
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the Minister of State plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 4 November 2008 on Flogas and the price of liquefied petroleum gas. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 9 February 2009]: I am told that the Department has no record of receiving the letter from the hon. Member. Officials have requested a copy of the letter and I will respond in due course.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Chelmsford to the Prime Minister of 17 November 2008 on his constituent Mr T Woodcraft of Chelmer Village, Chelmsford, transferred to his Department for a response on 27 November 2008. 
Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State plans to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Cleethorpes regarding (a) Mr Daniel Stewart, dated 30 October 2008 and (b) Mr Stephen Turner, dated 6 November 2008. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: DECC collects and compiles data on wholesale gas spot and forward prices, as well as other relevant price indicators, from a range of sources, including proprietary information providers, media, and organisations in the sector for internal analysis. These data include the UK system average price and prices for gas for the day-ahead, working days next week, monthly, quarterly, half yearly and yearly. Similar data for trading hubs in Belgium, the Netherlands and the US are also collected.
DECC produces assumptions for future trends in fossil fuel wholesale prices (including gas) up to 2030 which are used for modelling and other analytical work. This information is available on the following website:
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many (a) project managers and (b) administration managers have been recruited to the generic design assessment (GDA) team for new nuclear build; and what the cost has been to date of conducting the nuclear GDA. 
Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of potential new nuclear power stations is being undertaken by both the Nuclear Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and by the Environment Agency. From the start
of this work in 2007 up to the end of 2008, the costs recovered from the companies requesting the assessment was £5.84 million for work undertaken by HSE and I am informed by the Environment Agency that their recovered costs for the same period were £1.72 million. Both regulators costs will continue to be fully recovered for work assessing the two designs which are being taken through the final stages of GDA.
To help with the management of the GDA project, HSEs Nuclear Directorate employs four staff on project management activities. Three are on contract: two from an external agency, one from the Health and Safety Laboratory, and one was appointed from existing HSE resource. The head of the Environment Agencys GDA team was appointed from within the Agencys existing cadre, and acts as project manager for his teams work. One administration manager has been seconded into the HSE GDA team from another Government Department.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many former prisoners are employed by his Department; and what his Department's policy is on employing former prisoners. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been formed by bringing together work previously covered by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The final details of staff transferring from these Departments are yet to be confirmed. Given that, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 27 January 2009, Official Report, column reference 332W and by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Services for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on 13 January 2009, Official Report, column reference 565W.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what cars are (a) owned, (b) leased, (c) hired and (d) otherwise regularly used by his Department, broken down by cubic capacity of engine. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: DECC does not own, lease, hire or otherwise regularly use any cars, apart from those provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. Given that, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 26 January 2009, Official Report, column 10W about cars provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what funding the Government has provided for BPs proposed carbon capture and storage power plant in Peterhead, Scotland. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Renewables Obligation provides specific support for the use of biodiesel derived from cooking oil in the generation of carbon-neutral electricity. The level of support is dependent on the proportion of cooking oil within the biodiesel.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State plans to discuss renewable energy, among other issues, when he visits the UK in the coming months. This issue is of particular importance in view of the renewable energy aspects of the Presidents American recovery and investment plan.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We expect the Renewable Heat Incentive to be in place by April 2011. This will allow the necessary work to take place to consult on the design of the scheme and draft the regulations which will establish the RHI.
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