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Nick Clegg rejects claims of rift over energy policies

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British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has rejected claims of a coalition rift over the government’s energy policy, stating that all ministers are ” unreservedly committed” to a low-carbon economy.

Mr Clegg has said that there has been discussions about the ” balancing and sequencing” of policy, and the Treasury and the Department of Energy has reported clashes over wind turbine subsidies.

Chancellor George Osborne has said that the UK will meet it’s carbon reduction targets but not go further than any other country, so as not to put itself at a disadvantage with it’s competitors.

Tory backbenchers have argued that the “green deal” – the name for the renewable energy and energy efficiency reforms- should not be supported as it will increase costs for families and businesses alike.

The announcement last month of a 10% cut in government support for on-shore wind projects was reportedly after a stand-off between the Treasury and The Department for Energy and Climate Change led by Liberal Democrat Ed Davey.

A much greater reduction in subsidies of 25% is reported to be being urged by the Treasury.

In a recent energy conference in London, Nick Clegg claimed that the country was “leading from the front” in low-carbon technology.

“The coalition is sometimes presented in the press as if it is riddled with debate and division with regard to greening the economy,” he said.

“That isn’t the case. Yes, there will be internal discussions and debates on the balance and sequencing of different policies – that’s the nature of any government – and energy policies will evolve over time as costs come down.

“The entire government is working within the parameters of the carbon budget, which sets the pace for decarbonising our economy, and there is no-one in government who wants to depart from that.”

The UK is committed to lowering its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34% by 2020, compared with 1990 levels and by 80% by 2050.

Nick Clegg said “This coalition is unreservedly committed to helping our low-carbon sector thrive – no ifs, no buts. And we want to support the shift by traditional industry to cleaner sources of energy – while of course recognising the pressures they face.”

The government said on Monday it was providing £100m to two specialist fund managers to help stimulate domestic and foreign investment in non-domestic energy efficiency projects.

Closed Loop Recycling firm announced a £12m expansion plan which will double the capacity of the Dagenham plant and solar energy business Groupotec said it will double it’s Surrey-based workforce.

When becoming Prime Minister in 2010, David Cameron pledged to lead ” the greenest government ever”, but campaigners for the environment say that so far this is a somewhat empty promise.

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