Blair Outlines New Push for Renewable Energy

The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says it’s time to fight global warming with solar power and homegrown renewables. Blair saw solar power at work first hand on a visit to solarcentury, one of the UK’s major solar PV design and installation companies. The Prime Minister used the occasion to launch a UK Government push for alternative energy, saying the threat of global warming must be given immediate attention by the G8.

London, England – September 16, 2004 [] The Prime Minister met with Jeremy Leggett, the CEO of solarcentury. He examined the solar panels on the roof of solarcentury’s facilities and talked of the green industrial revolution at work. Blair also engaged in a lively discussion with young people who work in the energy industry. This roundtable discussion focused on the problems of global warming and implications for the UK economy and the environment. This morning’s visit was in advance of the Prime Minister’s evening speech to mark the tenth anniversary of the Environment Program, which was launched by the Prince of Wales. Blair aims to use Britain’s position next year as head of the G8, and use the country’s upcoming presidency of the European Union, to push for a reduction in greenhouse emissions. Prime Minister Blair pledged his support for the renewables program. He told those in attendance, “We will keep the funding in place for the renewables program. We will use public procurement to usher in the economies of scale. There are lots of public buildings coming on board, we will make renewables an intricate part of these buildings. We need to increase awareness. It’s not just bricks and mortar, it’s also good for the environment.” Blair’s visit also came on the eve of an OPEC meeting in Vienna on Wednesday where members face the realities of a constrained and volatile oil market. As oil prices peaked last month to almost reach US $50 a barrel, the OPEC President admitted that prices were now at a “crazy” level and talked of fears of a supply shortage. New discoveries of oil take more than 10 years to come to market and new finds have fallen by 40 percent since 2000. Production costs have also risen by about 40 percent in the past 8 years. As consumption grows, (it’s the strongest now in 28 years) so too must the oil price. “Solar energy and all the other members of the renewables family are ready to go in the coming battles against oil shortage and global warming,” solarcentury CEO Jeremy Leggett said. “Solar photovoltaic roofs and facades on buildings give you high value insurance against rising future energy prices at increasingly low cost right where you need the energy. We can power much of the country and do so much faster than most people realize. Together with our sister low carbon technologies we are capable of powering the entire country without the need for greenhouse gas emissions or oil and gas imports. All we need is the collective will and imagination to make the change.”
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