Renewable energy sources can “stand on their own two feet” and must become cheaper than fossil fuels before widely replacing them, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has said.
Ms Rudd told the Conservative conference in Manchester that moving to a low-carbon economy was vital for long term economic prosperity.
But she said the Government was right to crack down on subsidies – telling activists the party had already delivered a promise to crack down on new onshore wind.
She told activists: “Our approach is very different to the hapless Ukip candidate who asked ’But what happens when the renewables run out?’
“An average of £7 billion has been invested each year in UK-based renewable electricity since 2010.
“By 2020 we expect to get 30% of our power from renewable sources. We have solar panels on three quarters of a million roofs.
“With solar costs continuing to fall and new innovations in battery storage, renewable energy can stand on its own two feet.
“Indeed, the kind of transformation we need of our global energy system will only happen if low carbon energy becomes cheaper than the alternative.”
In her keynote conference address, Ms Rudd announced enhancements to the Energy Ombudsman, promising to ensure consumers were protected.
She said: “Too many customers still suffer from woeful service at the hands of energy companies. Many households show their dissatisfaction by switching away but we need to do more.
“I can announce today that we will work with Ofgem and Citizens Advice to strengthen the Energy Ombudsman’s role.
“We want to give the Ombudsman real teeth so he can investigate systemic issues in the industry, not just individual complaints.
“Where companies have developed a pattern of bad behaviour, they will have no hiding place.
“We are on the side of consumers, we are doing this so consumers receive better treatment and we can build more trust in the industry.”