James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Labour promise dozens of state-owned offshore wind farms
24 September 2019, 16:27
The Labour party has pledged to capitalise on Britain's "windy shores" by building 37 new offshore wind farms if it wins an upcoming general election.
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey announced the public would hold a 51 per cent stake in the project with profits being invested into coastal communities.
Last week, the cost of offshore wind fell below £40 per megawatt hour of electricity and the project could reportedly cost £83bn of public and private money.
However, Labour argued that deployment of offshore energy was too slow and both jobs and revenue were being taken outside of the UK.
Speaking at Labour's conference, Ms Long-Bailey said: "Britain has long benefited from its windy shores, with the wind playing an essential role in our history as a seafaring nation. Our wind will soon become our largest energy source.
"While UK's offshore wind industry is still young, the UK has the opportunity to avoid replicating Britain's experience with North Sea Oil and instead to learn from countries such as Norway and Sweden by owning what is already ours."
The Labour politician argued society would "collectively benefit from the profits" of offshore energy which would see coastal communities' infrastructure benefit to the tune of between £600 to £1,020 million each year.
The rest of the public profits would be reinvested into new renewables, improvements to the energy system and climate transition.
A people's power plan would deliver 52 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 - equivalent to 38 coal power stations - and the new wind farms would provide electricity for 57 million households, Labour said.
The MP for Salford and Eccles said: "That wind will turn into harbour fronts and libraries. Instead of jackets for wind farms located in Scotland being made in Indonesia, we'll bring those jobs back to Fife.
"As part of our Green Industrial Revolution we can tackle the climate emergency and create a better economy for us all."
However, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom argued Labour's plans for the nationalisation of large parts of the energy network will "damage the economy" and the Tory party's efforts to tackle climate change.
She said: "Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are putting the need to tackle climate change at the core of everything we do. We became one of the first major countries in the world to legislate to end our contribution to global warming completely by 2050.
"Business has an important part to play in achieving this ambitious target, and it is by working with business that we've ensured offshore wind will provide more than a third of our electricity by 2030, tripling the number of jobs in the industry and keeping bills low for consumers."