06/02/2012 07:14 GMT

Ed Davey Says British Companies 'Leading The World' In Green Jobs

New Energy Secretary Ed Davey claimed British companies were "leading the world" in creating green jobs and improving energy efficiency on Monday.

Speaking on his first ministerial visit since replacing Chris Huhne in the role, Davey said he had been a "lifelong supporter" of renewable energy.

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."

Davey, who was promoted from his former position as a business minister after 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 is expected to face a challenge to live up to the work of Huhne, who earned a reputation as a fierce defender of the government's climate change priorities.

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."

Davey was also dismissive of a revolt which has seen more than 100 Tory MPs writing to David Cameron calling for a dramatic cut in subsidies to onshore wind farms and more influence for local people to stop them being built.

He said: "I've been a lifelong supporter of renewables and wind power and I'm not going to change now, I think onshore and offshore wind power has a real place in a balanced mix of energy generation.

"We don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past where we have polluted our planet, where our countries have been dependant on fossil fuel imports where the price is high and variable. We don't want to be dependent on that; we want to make sure we have our own energy production that's clean and green.

"I think the case is pretty compelling, already we've seen through the subsidies that this Government has invested in onshore wind that the price has come down to make onshore wind competitive.

"We've got money to invest in all sorts of renewables because of the success of the investments we've been making, so that's convincing for me."