Thursday, 27 September 2018

Labour's green energy plans are the surest sign yet that they are heading for Government

Labour's low cost and practical proposals for expansion of onshore and offshore wind, solar power, energy conservation and increases in renewable heat are the surest sign yet that they are the competent choice for Government. Their proposals need some elaboration in places and some work on detail, but seem to be in a different dimension compared to the Tory Government who seem increasingly certain to be heading for self-destruction on the anvil of Brexit.

Rebecca Long-Bailey is aiming for 85 per cent of electricity to come from low carbon power by 2030. This is an easily achievable target, and will be done at low cost if simultaneously Labour cancels the disaster-in-waiting project at Wylfa, and some way can be found to avoid Hinkley C being built.

As I indicated in a recent post, there's already enough offshore wind in the pipeline to ensure well over 50 per cent of electricity coming from renewables by 2025. See

Labour's plans for boosting offshore wind, onshore wind and solar pv will meet its 85 per cent of low carbon power by 2030, and, in doing so, also accommodate a substantial increase in transport and heating demand provided through electricity.

The Government could revivify the buildings insulation programme, reinstating the programme started by the last Labour Government but short-circuited by the useless and self-defeating so-called 'Green deal'.

Of course the Government will need to engender some much smarter thinking and regulation than is happening at present to integrate the coming expansion of electric cars. But this requires imagination rather than cost increases.

Although some see the target of providing over 40 per cent of heat demand from renewables as being problemmatic, we could go at least along way towards this target in a way that rests heavily on Labour's ideological strength in promoting municipal green socialism. Waiting in the wings is the developing technology in the form of industrial heat pumps. This, like a lot of other green technologies is one that is declining in cost. A Labour Government could empower local authorities to start up local green energy companies who would have a focus on developing community heating networks to be supplied with heating by industrial heat pumps. This technology, already being demonstrated in Denmark, operates by using electricity to turn energy in the air, ground or water into heat. The heat can be stored in hot water tanks so that it can be delivered when needed.

In short, there's still some loose ends in Labour's green energy proposals but the outline is good and getting to look more and more plausible in terms of practical measures.

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