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Cameron unveils plans for Tory green revolution

Guardian Environment 16th January 2009

David Cameron today unveiled plans for a "revolution" in Britain's green economy which he said would slash the country's carbon emissions, guarantee energy supplies and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

The Tory plans would see a national network of plug-points in the streets for electric cars, a £1 billion modernisation of the electricity grid with smart meters in every home and a new right to £6,500 worth of insulation for every household in the country.

A Conservative Green Paper for a low-carbon future also set out plans for a national network of wind-farms in large-scale Marine Energy Parks as well as high-speed rail links between North and South and a national nuclear waste site to clear the way for new atomic power plants.

Tories said their plans would allow the UK to hit its 2050 target of 80% cuts in CO2. It would be "selfish, irresponsible and morally wrong" not to make the investment now to ensure that future generations are spared the effects of global warming, said the Green Paper.
Cameron said that the changes would transform the energy industry in the same way the internet has transformed communications, paving the way for a "genuinely low-carbon world".

Key to the Tory proposals, launched today in an internet webcast by Cameron, is the creation of a "smart" National Grid, adding computer intelligence to a system currently using technology dating back to the 1950s.

The smart grid would permit consumers to use energy in the most efficient way, and even feed surplus power generated by solar panels or home-based wind turbines back into the grid, said Tories.

It would allow the creation of a national recharging network, with roadside plug-points, enabling Britain to "lead the world" in switching from traditional petrol and diesel vehicles to electric models.

And it would make it easier for electricity suppliers to tap into energy from renewable sources like tidal and wind power and biogas.
Meanwhile, householders would be entitled to improve the energy efficiency of their homes with cavity wall or roof insulation, paying back the cost over a period of up to 25 years.

Because consumers can expect immediate reductions of around £160 a year on gas and electricity bills, Tories expect that the repayments will be significantly outweighed by savings.

A Tory government would also require carbon capture and storage technology to be fitted to all new coal-fired energy plants and would introduce new biogas plants using rubbish and farm waste to generate power to heat homes.

Shadow energy secretary Greg Clark, said: "What we are proposing today is nothing less than an environmental and energy revolution, which would make Britain a world leader in moves towards creating a low carbon economy. It is a plan that will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs, raise skills and improve Britain's competitiveness.

"No longer will we need to be overly dependent on imported fossil fuels from unstable countries. Instead our electricity and heating will come from a wider range of more dependable and renewable sources, which will encourage innovative energy sources to be developed. This will help guarantee our energy security, reduce our carbon emissions and do all we can to protect the future.

"We will offer real help for families struggling to make ends meet during Labour's recession. A Conservative government would enable every household to have up to £6,500 worth of insulation fitted in their house, at no up-front cost, which would mean instant reductions in energy bills and would dramatically cut the carbon footprint of every home in Britain."

Conservatives said that under their plan Britain's lighting and electronics, as well as most of its machinery, trains and cars, can be powered by low-carbon electricity by 2050.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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