On 26 April 2012, UK Prime Minister David Cameron addressed global clean energy ministers at the third Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM3) in London.
The Prime Minister spoke about the need to create a more diverse, cleaner energy mix that enhances energy security, reduces emissions, and drives economic growth. He also noted the vital role of the Clean Energy Ministerial in helping to spur deployment.
The first national government leader to address the ministers since the launch of the Clean Energy Ministerial in 2010, Prime Minister Cameron addressed both domestic and international energy issues in his remarks. He stated that “practical progress in low carbon energy internationally… is vital for our energy security, our economic future, and our environment.” He also complimented the role of the Clean Energy Ministerial as “a key forum for bringing together countries and businesses to drive practical progress” in these areas. The Prime Minister noted that the world’s future energy mix will need to include nuclear energy, clean coal technologies, shale gas, and carbon capture, along with a rapidly growing share of energy generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and biomass.
The Prime Minister described the United Kingdom’s recent achievements in the “green energy revolution.” These include the creation of a dedicated green investment bank, a pioneering carbon capture and storage program, energy policies (such as the Green Deal program) that support energy efficiency, and electricity market reforms that help attract green energy investment. These and other efforts helped the UK add more capacity for renewables in the past two years than at any time in the past decade. This in turn enabled the UK to generate 10 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2011.
The Prime Minister noted that the UK represents the world’s largest offshore wind market and is the world’s leading financial center for low-carbon industries. The Prime Minister also highlighted recent UK investments in renewable energy, including £4.7 billion of investment supporting 15,000 new jobs. According to a presentation given by Bloomberg New Energy Finance on the first day of CEM3, global investments in clean energy totaled $260 billion in 2011, but that number needs to be much higher ($1 trillion) to meet clean energy goals.
The Prime Minister also spoke to the challenge and opportunity to make renewable energy a financially sustainable energy choice. Doing so will require driving costs down, making renewable energy a truly global business (one that links supply and demand), and investing in the needed infrastructure. These steps will secure the future of renewables as a vital part of the world’s energy supply, while creating jobs and economic growth.
Offshore WIND staff, April 23, 2012; Image: decc