John McDonell's speech to the Labour Conference came out with a lot of green sounding rhetoric on renewable energy but the commitments are vague and potentially fatally undermined by what could well end up as a commitment to centralised re-nationalisation of parts of the energy system.
Now I'm all in favour of the community owning our energy system provided it is local people - city councils, cooperatives, local not for profit companies, but not centralised monopoly nationalised industries. These aren't things that are controlled by the public or the Government, on the contrary they control the Government. This can be seen most graphically in the case of EDF, about which I talked in an earlier blog post:
Really, one should not trust Labour's commitments, as vague as they are, as far as you can understand them, which isn't very far. I read John McDonnell's speech and the only renewable energy source mentioned was a tidal lagoon plant in Swansea. What about wind power or solar power? No mention - but, wait for it, whilst Jeremy Corbyn was busy saying he would cancel Hinkley C (really?), his junior energy spokesperson was busy telling people they would support a different nuclear project at Moorside.
Rebecca Long-Bailey interpreted the manifesto commitments on energy as consisting of ensuing 'that 60% of our energy comes from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030. To support projects like Swansea tidal lagoon and Moorside nuclear plant.' See http://press.labour.org.uk/
Oh I see, so renewable and low carbon involves nuclear power and a tidal lagoon scheme. Very clear.
Would Moorside be a better project than HinkleyC? No, it wouldn't. All proposals for new nuclear power faces the same crippling costs to reach modern safety standards. A terrible problem with a Labour Government is that its commitment to centralised public ownership could mean, in practice, a blank cheque to be given to nuclear developers who will gobble up lots of money that could otherwise be spent on solar and wind power. We would be left with never-ending nuclear building sites and little renewable energy.
The problem with Labour, is that they can never stray far from their dinosaur pretensions kept alive (in their minds) by the GMB and others. That's what you'll get with their centralised visions of state ownership.
By contrast the green movement stands for decentralised, people's control of energy which will be thoroughly renewable, not nuclear. You can trust the greens to support that consistently, but not Labour.