26/10/2011 03:06 BST | Updated 25/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Huhne Brands Renewable Energy Doubters 'Curmudgeons And Faultfinders'

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne will attack those who doubt the future of renewable energy later, branding them "curmudgeons and faultfinders", while defending the government's record on investing in green technologies.

He will say: “At a time when closures and cuts dominate the news cycle, next-generation industries are providing jobs and sinking capital into Britain.

“Yes, climate change is a manmade disaster. Yes, the UK is only 2% of global carbon emissions. But if we grasp the opportunity now our businesses and economy can be much more than 2% of the solution."

Huhne will make the comments as part of a speech to a conference on renewable energy in Manchester later today. His comments follow claims by the WWF this week that at least 60% of the UK's energy could come from renewable sources by 2030.

The Independent views Mr. Huhne's speech as a riposte to the Chancellor George Osborne, who is thought to be sceptical about whether massive investment in green energy will pay off.

Unfortunately for the energy secretary the problems facing the industry are more pressing - on Tuesday MPs warned that the UK has inadequate reserves of carbon-sourced energy - with only 14 days supply of gas in reserve. This is less than a quarter than the reserves held by many other European countries including France and Germany.

Amid spiralling energy bills the government is due to announce its plans for its 'Cold Weather Initiative' this Friday. Some media reports have suggested that this winter will once again be colder than average, although these claims were dismissed by the Met Office earlier in October.

One renewable energy firm called on the government to force the Big Six energy firms in Britain to invest more.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “Britain needs huge investment in new sources of green energy to cover the looming gap in generation capacity.

“A target of 60% renewables by 2030 is achievable if government don't slash the Renewables Obligation for onshore wind (which will deliver the lion's share), if the planning system is reformed (as the government have promised) and if the energy companies commit to serious investment in new green energy - instead of shareholder dividends.

“Ofgem say the Big Six are making £125 per customer, but they spend less than £5 of that on building new green energy sources – that’s a scandal.

“The reason for this lack of investment is not just weak regulation but because the interests of the big energy companies are not aligned with the interests of the British Public - they want quick shareholder returns we need long term investment in energy infrastructure that will make Britain energy independent again.”