Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, has hailed the announcement that the next UK Labour Government will create a publicly owned GB Energy company as a “fundamental shift in how we tackle climate change and the cost-of-living crisis” following Keir Starmer’s speech to Labour Conference.
Labour Party Conference 2022 was held in Liverpool and witnessed a speech from Keir Starmer MP that set out that the Party will always put country first and set out how he will achieve this with policies focused on a fairer, greener future.
The leader of the Labour Party set out two new policy announcements that will directly benefit Wales:
- Clean Power by 2030
- The next Labour Government will launch an urgent mission for a fossil fuel free electricity system by 2030, making the UK a clean energy superpower, exporting clean power to the rest of the world. This would save UK households £93 billion over the rest of this decade.
- A publicly owned GB Energy company
- Labour will establish a British publicly owned company that will help generate the clean power that will cut bills and provide energy security for the UK. We already have great energy companies investing in Britain. But to roll out clean power at scale, and to ensure that we get the jobs and the supply chains we need in the UK, we need to emulate the success of other European countries and have our own domestic champion.
By establishing a publicly owned energy company we can finally unleash the potential of Britain’s renewable energy for the betterment of everyone in Wales, bring down household bills and tackle climate change head on.
Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, said:
“When we look at the state of the economy, we can see a UK Tory Government which has caused investors to bolt, the pound to collapse and the IMF to issue a statement warning them of their actions.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Keir Starmer’s speech to Labour Conference showed we can be a world-leading Net Zero superpower that brings down the cost of your bills and secures long-term decent employment for generations to come. No more should we forgive the Tories for their failings. People shouldn’t forget what they’ve done to our country when they next go to the ballot box.
The announcement of the creation of a publicly owned GB Energy company is a fundamental shift in how we tackle both climate change and the cost-of-living crisis. Instead of us paying the French or Swedes to build our nuclear reactors or windfarms we will do it at home. Delivering highly-skilled, well-paid jobs for generations. A UK Labour Government will put your values into action.”
More details on the GB Energy policy announcements can be found below:
Clean Power 2030
The next Labour Government will launch an urgent mission for a fossil fuel free electricity system by 2030, making the UK a clean energy superpower, exporting clean power to the rest of the world. This would save UK households £93 billion over the rest of this decade.
To achieve this target, by 2030 a Labour government would:
- Quadruple offshore wind with an ambition of 55GW by 2030;
- Accelerate the pioneering floating offshore wind technology by fast-tracking at least 5GW of capacity;
- More than triple solar power to over 50GW;
- More than double our onshore wind capacity to 35GW;
- Ensure the long-term security of nuclear power – getting projects at Sizewell and Hinkley over the line, extending the lifetime of existing plants and backing new nuclear and Small Modular Reactors;
- Invest in carbon capture and storage and hydrogen to ensure that there is sufficient zero-emission back-up power and storage for extended periods without wind or sun, while maintaining a strategic reserve of backup gas power stations to guarantee security of supply;
- Double down on green hydrogen, with 10GW of production – twice the government’s target – for use particularly in flexible power generation, storage, and industrial processes like green steel;
- Unleash marine and tidal power;
- Reform planning laws and build out the grid; and
- Manage existing oil and gas wells sustainably over the coming decades, while putting a stop to new oil and gas licences and continuing to oppose fracking, which will not reduce bills but will leave us vulnerable to Putin’s manipulation of international markets, distract investment, and drive a coach and horses through our climate commitments.
Labour will establish a British publicly owned company that will help generate the clean power that will cut bills and provide energy security for the UK. We already have great energy companies investing in Britain. But to roll out clean power at scale, and to ensure that we get the jobs and the supply chains we need in the UK, we need to emulate the success of other European countries and have our own domestic champion.
GB Energy will enable:
- Long term investments. Delivering clean power at scale requires long-term investments in a range of new and emerging technologies. GB Energy can make assured investments with reliable capital. It will crowd in private sector investment.
- Export potential. GB Energy would initially focus on driving forward the deployment of clean power projects at home in the UK. However, as the organisation develops technical expertise, intellectual property rights, and manufacturing capability, this could become an important tool in making the UK a clean energy export superpower.
- Retain and build wealth for the British people: Currently, profits from our own renewable assets are offshored to foreign Governments. With GB Energy, we can ensure that the power we produce also contributes to our national prosperity and economic renewal and that we profit as a country from development of IP and exports in key technologies.
- National security: Allowing foreign governments into our energy system has undermined our national security, for example with the UK’s willingness in the 2010s to let the Chinese government into our nuclear programme, or the decision to allow the private sector to close Rough, our only national storage facility. With GB Energy, we can retain the strategic assets we need to build national resilience.
- Jobs and supply chains. The clean power industry has not been as effective as it could be in delivering jobs right the way through supply chains at home in the UK. A publicly owned company like GB Energy will help address this because it will be rooted in the UK, and can help to grow domestic supply chains, ensuring that homegrown R&D leads to domestic manufacturing and nurturing partnerships with SMEs and large local employers.
- Clean Power. Labour’s plan to deliver clean power by 2030 will save UK households £93 billion over the rest of this decade. GB Energy will provide additional capacity as we increase clean power, alongside the rapidly expanding private sector, to deliver the investment in renewable and nuclear power.
Despite being rich in renewable resources, the UK is almost unique in not having such a domestic champion. The countries that are leading the way on clean power have successful domestic champions for example Vattenfall (Sweden), and Ørsted (Denmark).
Sweden, Norway and Denmark have each developed successful publicly-owned national industrial champions to take advantage of the offshore wind boom. Denmark’s Ørsted (previously DONG) owns over 30% of the UK’s offshore wind, and is the largest offshore developer in the world. Norway’s Equinor (formerly Statoil) is at the forefront of developing new technology such as floating wind, and building an industrial future for Norway beyond oil.
Of the ten countries in the world leading the clean energy transition, only the UK does not have a public generation company. The UK’s energy system already has public ownership, but it is by foreign governments. 45% (44.2%) of offshore wind capacity owned by foreign countries. Malaysia owns more than the UK government.