Davey hails UK on energy efficiency
New Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said that British companies are "leading the world" in creating green jobs and improving energy efficiency.
Speaking on his first ministerial visit since replacing Chris Huhne in the role, Mr Davey said he had been a "lifelong supporter" of renewable energy.
Mr Davey, who was accompanied to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) testing facility for green homes near Watford by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, said: "I've been a lifelong supporter of the green agenda, I campaigned at university and afterwards on things like energy efficiency, and I'm here today at the excellent BRE seeing what British companies are doing leading the world, creating green jobs.
"I've also been a lifelong supporter of renewables and so I'm delighted to see that the UK again is leading in that technology."
Mr Davey, who was promoted from his former position as a business minister after Mr Huhne resigned on Friday to fight charges of perverting the course of justice, added that the UK must continue to play a leading role in exporting green technologies.
He said: "We've got to compete in the world and actually here's an industry, here's a technology - a group of technologies - where we're leading the world, and this institute here is playing a critical role in that."
Mr Davey, who is expected to face a challenge to live up to the work of Mr Huhne, who earned a reputation as a fierce defender of the Government's climate change priorities, said the issue of Britons being able to heat their homes was a fundamental one.
He told reporters: "Climate change is critical to the work of my department, but we've also got to make sure that energy security for the country is delivered, we've got to keep the lights on and we've got to do that in a way which makes sure consumer bills don't rocket through the roof.
"I'm thinking about the climate, I'm thinking about consumers and their bills, and I'm thinking about making sure that our economy has the energy supply that it needs."
Mr Davey and Mr Clegg were given a tour of some of the prototype buildings at the snow-covered site, where the latest energy-efficient technology is developed. After being shown examples of sustainable homes, including one that has zero carbon emissions, the pair spoke to young people taking part in the company's graduate scheme, with Mr Clegg joking: "I don't understand much of what you're doing, but I understand it's very important."