Saturday, 24 January 2015
Labour throws out green energy titbits - but would they do it without Green Party votes?
For Green energy supporters, both large and small, Labour seems to be a much more appealing prospect than the Conservatives. But only because there are other parties also offering a greener agenda than the Tories - and the Green Party is important here.
The Lib Dems support onshore wind - in contrast to the Tories - so it's a no-brainer here for Labour to back plans for more onshore wind. Labour's energy spokesperson Tom Greatrex (who is beginning to demonstrate that he has some ideas of his own) has taken three further useful steps. One is that he has backed the campaign to stop the corporate neo-liberals ban ordinary people raising ethical investment for renewable energy projects. He evidently wants to reverse the Financial Conduct Authority's drive to effectively ban renewable energy cooperatives. There's an article about this in The Guardian.
Greatrex has also distanced himself from the latest piece of largesse being handed to EDF in respect of the capacity mechanism payments their nuclear power plant output will receive as a consequence of the capacity auctions. There's sense in that. Why on earth people want to pay nuclear power stations for keeping running at peak times of the day when they would want to keep running anyway beats me. See:
Of course this falls a long way short of doing the UK a great service by avoiding the coming nuclear construction disaster that is Hinkley C.
Third, Labour has been making supportive sounds about the notion of a 'community feed-in tariff''. Now, that's a good idea (even if it falls short of the real feed in tariff that this blog was founded to promote!). Labour has allowed its long standing (and long suffering!) SERA to get some mileage in pushing this one. See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/community-energy-would-bypass-the-big-six-under-labour-9923413.html
So, Labour is giving us green titbits - but how come all of a sudden! Well, the Green Party is getting a lot of votes. Labour of course will argue that green votes often come at Labour's expense, but the trouble is, that without the Green Party votes, and for that matter some distance between even the Lib Dems and the Tories on renewable energy, Labour would probably offer nothing new.
But it's worse for the Tories. I remember one officer of a (actually rather conservative) countryside pressure group telling me that if the Tories were to win power they had to gain the support of 'the NGOs'. I am sure he meant the green lobby that David Cameron is now feeling necessary to ignore in order to pacify his right wing who threaten defection to UKIP. But the price is very high. A party like the Tories that can't even offer a few scraps to the green lobby looks like one that is heading out of office.......