Labour "Scandalous Legacy" on renewable energy Slams Chris Huhne

Newly appointed Secretary of State for Energy Chris Huhne has wasted no time in attacking the former Labour government's "scandalous" record on renewable energy.

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme this morning (May 13), Mr Huhne criticised the previous administration's failure to capitalise on the abundance of wind, wave and tidal resources in the UK and promoted his vision of energy from these sources filling a potential ‘gap' over the next decade as aging nuclear and coal power stations come offline.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto committed the party to generating 40% of electricity from "clean, non-carbon emitting sources" by 2020, rising to 100% by 2050. At least 75% of this was marked to come from marine and offshore sources and would not include any new nuclear.

Today, Mr Huhne acknowledged that new nuclear may be built if the private sector is able to do so but said that this would be without government subsidies, and he pledged to do more than the previous administration to ensure that renewables accounted for a much larger proportion of the nation's electricity.

He said that expanding the renewables sector and improving energy efficiency would render the country more independent of imported energy, increasing national security.

He said: "The most scandalous legacy of the last 13 years is the fact that here we are sitting on the island part of Europe that has the most potential for wind power, for tidal power, for wave power...we have an abundance of potential renewable energy and yet we have one of the worst records of any country in the European Union for generating electricity from renewables.

"We've got to get renewables way up. We've got to make sure we're much more energy efficient, because the cheapest way of generating energy is actually to save energy.

"And by doing those two courses of action I believe we can make our national security more secure as well because we will be more independent of imports of key energy requirements."