Bishop of Durham asks Government about renewable energy and development

On the 15th May 2018 Baroness Sheehan asked the Government “how much overseas development assistance was spent on fossil fuel subsidies in the most recent reporting period.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question about small-scale, off-grid energy systems.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, 1.06 billion people on the planet currently live without modern energy services. Renewable energy, particularly small-scale and off-grid energy systems, will play a key role in making sure that energy-poor communities have access to affordable and reliable electricity. DfID’s Energy Africa campaign is an excellent example of this. Will the Minister update the House on the progress of that campaign since its launch in 2015, and elaborate on the Government’s plans for spending on small-scale, off-grid energy systems?

Lord Bates: The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right. A lot of the power stations we are talking about are of no benefit to the rural areas in which most of the poor people live because they cannot be cost-effectively connected to the grid. Therefore, solutions have to be off-grid. Energy Africa is a key part of what we are doing but, as well as that, we are launching some exciting programmes for the rural economy in Sierra Leone and there are the CDC investments in off-grid. Off-grid offers tremendous opportunities in getting power to poor people in rural areas and we will continue to invest heavily in it.