Labour pledge ‘seven-fold’ increase in offshore wind at conference

Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey - Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey - Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Labour’s shadow business and energy secretary, Rebecca Long Bailey, last night pledged that her party would look to create a “seven-fold” increase in offshore wind.

She also added that the Labour Party would provide 60% of UK energy through renewables if her party is successful at the next general election.

Ms Long Bailey said Labour would look to implement the changes and meet its target within 12 years.

The Labour secretary claimed her party had been “working with an expert team of energy professionals” to commission a report that recommends an offshore wind increase, enough to power 12 million homes.

Ms Long Bailey said: “The report recommends a diverse energy mix, one part, harnessing the best offshore wind prospects in the world to deliver a seven-fold increase in offshore wind power. That’s over 7000 turbines, a massive 52 gigawatts – enough to power 12 million homes.”

With the Conservative Party set against the technology, Ms Long Bailey also proposed a doubling of onshore wind farms, and a tripling of solar power.

She said this would create enough energy to power over 7 million homes.

Ms Long Bailey added: “So this is not the time for piecemeal measures. We do not have to settle for whatever the market can deliver, and sleep walk into catastrophe.

“Because we can unleash the energy of the wind and the waves, and of our people, who have been criminally neglected through this country’s long deindustrialisation.”

RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “Labour is right to recognise that wind and renewables should be at the heart of a smart, low carbon energy system.  Onshore wind is the lowest cost option for new power in the UK but is currently prevented from competing in the market, which means consumers will miss out on cheap electricity and billions of pounds of new investment across the UK being lost.

“Offshore wind can be the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system. Industry has set out plans to invest tens of billion of pounds in new projects and supply chains that will support over 27,000 jobs by 2030.

“We look forward to working with Labour as they add the detail to their plans, particularly on investment in supply chains to deliver growth.”

Setting out his plans for a “green jobs revolution” at today’s conference session, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I can announce today that our programme of investment and transformation to achieve a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030 will create over 400,000 skilled jobs.”

Labour would commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

The “ambitious” goal will be delivered with the most “far-reaching programme of investment and transformation in decades”.

Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “These ambitious goals recognise renewable energy’s place as an engine for economic change.

“Mature renewable technologies, like onshore wind and solar, are our cheapest new sources of power generation. Deploying renewables at scale, and reversing the decisions which have locked onshore wind and solar out of the energy market since 2015, would drive investment and jobs across the UK.

“To meet a 60% renewable energy target by 2030, a rapid expansion of clean heat and transport – powered by renewables – will be critical. Action is needed now to decarbonise these sectors to meet our climate change obligations and deliver the jobs, investment and infrastructure this transition would bring to communities across the country.”