Labour unveils ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ plans
The UK Labour Party has announced that it will nationalise the energy grid and install solar panels on nearly two million homes as part of its ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ plans.
A National Energy Agency (NEA) will own and maintain transmission infrastructure, replacing the National Grid to ensure that heat and electricity are a “human right for all”.
And by fitting solar panels on 1.75m homes, Labour said its plans would provide free energy and cut energy bills by £117 on average, potentially rising to £270 for retired people.
One million of the households fitted with solar panels will be social and low-income homes, with the policy estimated to create 16,900 jobs and save 7.1m tonnes of CO2.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Too many think of green measures as just another way for companies or the government to get money out of them, while the rich fly about in private jets and heat their empty mansions.
“Our Green Industrial Revolution will benefit working-class people with cheaper energy bills, more rewarding well-paid jobs, and new industries to revive the parts of our country that have been held back for far too long.”
The NEA will set and oversee targets for decarbonisation that meet Labour’s target of 60% renewable energy by 2030 and net zero carbon before 2050, according to the plans.
A further 14 ‘regional energy agencies’ will replace the existing distribution network operators, and will hold statutory responsibility for decarbonising electricity and heat, reducing fuel poverty, rolling out electric vehicle charging infrastructure and creating local jobs.
Local authorities will be able to set up ‘municipal energy agencies’ and take ownership of distribution networks if they want to speed up the energy transition, enabling them to integrate networks with local generation and supply.
Moreover, Labour said it would support the establishment of non-profit making ‘local energy communities’ to develop small-scale energy generation and engage with distribution at the micro level.
However, the National Grid warned that the plans would put current progress towards decarbonisation at risk, highlighting how the UK recently when a week without coal generation for electricity.
“These proposals for state-ownership of the energy networks would only serve to delay the huge amount of progress and investment that is already helping to make this country a leader in the move to green energy,” the National Grid said.
“At a time when there is increased urgency to meet the challenges of climate change the last thing that is needed is the enormous distraction, cost and complexity contained in these plans.”
Image credit | iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM