Britain’s Labour Party has promised to build thousands of wind farms on land and offshore and ensure a solar panel is fitted to every ‘viable roof’ in the country as part of a ‘green jobs revolution’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool this afternoon, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn committed the party to a doubling of onshore wind turbines and a seven-fold rise in offshore wind generation. The plans for a ‘green jobs revolution’ also include a massive home insulation programme and an expansion of solar power across the country. This would form part of Labour’s drive to cut Britain carbon footprint by 60 percent by 2030 and to zero by 2050.
Corbyn predicted that the move would create more than 400,000 jobs – 160,000 of them from the home insulation programme alone.
“There is no bigger threat facing humanity than climate change” Mr Corbyn said. “We must lead by example. Our energy plans would make Britain the only developed country outside Scandinavia to be on track to meet our climate change obligations.”
“Whatever your politics, the economic facts on the ground are that an energy system driven by expanding wind and solar now offers the lowest cost pathway” said Leonie Greene of the Solar Trade Association (STA), commenting on Corbyn's speech to conference. “The Government estimates that around £180 billion needs to be invested in the electricity sector alone to 2030, so enabling the lowest cost technologies which do not need public subsidy and which do not contribute to climate change, namely solar and onshore wind, would be very good news for consumers. Renewables are also good for our economy as they are not subject to unpredictable global price fluctuations, something we are currently seeing with gas & petrol prices. The jobs created will be spread across all parts of the UK.
Renewables need a flexible electricity system and policy certainty to create long term contracts. That flexibility also means further potentially massive cost savings because it means a more efficient power system overall. For example, a recent analysis shows enabling 'smart' homes that interact intelligently with the electricity grid could save up to £6.9billion per annum.
Building more solar and wind generation will now drive lower energy costs for consumers than any alternative future system. But we need the market framework to facilitate this future and stimulate investment”.
Shaun Spiers, executive director at think tank Green Alliance, added that Corbyn’s pledge to support clean energy and energy efficient buildings shows how real climate leadership can underpin good quality jobs and that it is great to see the Labour leader putting the environment centre stage and making clear that environmental action is not an alternative to economic prosperity, but essential to improving the economy and people's quality of life. However, Mr Spiers also said that if Labour really wants a clean manufacturing future, it should also pledge to phase out sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.
“The UK is better placed than any other European country to gain green jobs from a rapid transition to EVs” Spiers added. “A future Labour government will also need to work closely with private companies to ensure future investment in clean energy and other environmental good and to tackle climate change”.
Corbyn also promised to revive the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Power Project, describing the view of Conservative Party ministers that the project would cost too much as “the wrong decision for our economy”. Mr Corbyn commented that the Government’s decision was “the wrong decision for jobs and the wrong decision for the future of our planet” and said that Labour would back the plan.