UK Labour opposition sets out green energy policy, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

Edinburgh: The UK’s main opposition Labour party on Monday vowed to turn the country into a “clean energy superpower” if it wins the next election.

A vote has to be held by the end of next year, and Labour is currently well ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives in opinion polling.

Outlining its green energy plans in Edinburgh, Labour promised that its plans to address the climate emergency would be “front and centre” of its economic strategy for government.

Leader Keir Starmer pledged “100 percent clean power” by 2030 creating 500,000 new jobs, including 50,000 in Scotland, to deliver energy independence from the likes of Russia and cheaper household bills.

“It is an ambitious goal. It will put us ahead of any major economy in the world. But at the moment we’re nowhere near the front of the pack,” he said in a speech.

“This is a race we have to win,” he added.

The Conservatives under former prime minister Boris Johnson promised to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

But Starmer claimed that too much time had been lost and there had been a lack of investment in green energy compared to countries such as the United States.

An over-reliance on imported fossil fuels had also left UK consumers exposed to international price fluctuations, he argued.

“We will need to run fast to catch up, faster still to get ahead, faster again to stay there,” he said. “Some nation will become a clean energy superpower. Why not Britain?”

Central to Labour’s plan is the creation of a new state-owned company, GB Energy, to deliver on its 2030 goal and ensure the country is self-sufficient for power.

Infrastructure investment from borrowing would aim at doubling onshore wind, trebling solar power and increasing offshore wind four-fold.

Labour would also insulate 19 million homes to keep heating bills down, Starmer said.

Local opposition has dogged the development of onshore wind projects in England for years but Starmer promised to provide financial incentives for local communities to give up land.

Environmental campaigners have been angered by Labour refusing to rule out a complete ban on new North Sea oil and gas projects.

Starmer conceded that oil and gas would be “part of the mix for decades to come under existing licences well into the 2050s” but the sector was “dwindling”.

In Scotland, questions have been asked about whether a Labour government would give the go-ahead for the Rosebank oil and gas field west of Shetland, in the far north.

“Rosebank is probably up for decision very soon now. And if it is granted, that falls into the category of existing licences” that Labour would promise to respect, he added.

  • Published On Jun 19, 2023 at 05:52 PM IST

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