The South West has incredible renewable energy resources.
A report from the Resilience Centre in the Forest of Dean calculated that this has the potential to create 122,000 jobs across the region and add over £4bn a year to the regional economy. This is what we call the Western Powerhouse. But our government is determined to develop fracking and new nuclear stations even though these make us dependent on the Chinese and will destroy our economy and our health.
As members of the EU we are bound to meet the renewable energy targets set by EU law. This has the ambitious aim of ensuring 20% of EU energy comes from renewables by 2020. Flying in the face of an extraordinary potential in the area of renewables, our government is nonetheless one of those that tries to undermine more ambitious targets at European level.
Germany is going through an energy revolution that is giving power to the people. In the past decade the share of renewable electricity has risen from 6% to nearly 25%. More than half of the investment in renewables has been made by small investors, meaning that this transition to renewables has empowered local communities and and brought great wealth to rural communities.
While our failure to follow this example and invest in this sector that could create so many economic opportunities is very disappointing, it is clear that things will be much worse for our renewables industry if we were to leave the EU. It is only our European targets that is preventing further job losses and waste of renewable resources in the South West.