This article first appeared in the Llanelli Star on 16th October 2019.
What a missed opportunity… all we have had in the Queen’s Speech this week on climate change is a very modest environment bill, with measures on air pollution and waste, but what we really need is big, bold action. That’s what the thousands of people joining in the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations are calling for.
If we are going to power our industry, heat our homes and run our transport systems on clean energy, largely in the form of electricity, then we need massive, co-ordinated investment in renewables, not just to replace the fossil fuel power stations, but to increase our electricity generation.
It is no good just leaving everything to the market, or worse still mess the industry around with sudden changes to incentives. The necessary transformation just won’t happen. Instead we need a realistic plan about how much renewable energy we will need, where it can be generated, where we want to use it and, of course, how to get it there, which itself is a challenge… something I have been discussing recently with the National Grid.
To make this transformation happen, the UK Government must have a clear, overarching strategy. Labour has a 10-year plan for clean energy to reduce electricity generation emissions to net zero. The plan includes a dramatic fivefold increase in the UK’s offshore wind capacity, with 37 new wind farms, providing enough electricity for 57 million households and bringing good unionised jobs to coastal communities.
We will use equity capital from our proposed National Transformation Fund, to help finance this massive expansion in offshore wind, through joint venture partnerships between publicly-owned Regional Energy Agencies (REAs) and existing offshore wind developers. A total of £83 billion will be invested between 2020 and 2030. That is the scale of action we need, and that is what we mean by a Green industrial Revolution.