The Labour Party has pledged a five-fold increase in offshore wind and the creation of nearly 70,000 jobs. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made the pledge while visiting MHI Vestas’s wind turbine logistics facility at the old Fawley power station in Southampton today.
During the visit, Corbyn outlined Labour’s ten-year plan for clean energy to reduce emissions to net zero and keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. The plan would mean a five-fold increase in the UK’s offshore wind capacity, with 37 new wind farms, as part of a “green industrial revolution” that would help to tackle the climate emergency, create new, good unionised jobs and invest in coastal communities.
The new investment - drawn from a combination of public and private sources and worth £83bn over ten years - is estimated to create more than 67,000 new jobs across the country and provide enough electricity for 57 million households, replacing the need for 38 coal power stations.
As well creating new jobs and clean energy, labour says the investment will further directly benefit the public, with a 51% public stake in all new offshore wind farms. 20% of the public’s profits from new offshore wind, estimated between £0.6 and £1bn per year, will be invested directly into held-back coastal communities to create a new generation of harbour fronts, parks, leisure centres and libraries. The remaining 80% of public profits will be reinvested into decarbonising the economy.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The full scale of the environment and climate emergency cannot be ignored. As scientists and activists have made clear, we need immediate and radical action to have any hope of keeping temperature rises to a manageable level.
“We know the big polluters and banks won’t take the necessary action. So, the next Labour government will kick-start a green industrial revolution, protecting our planet and creating hundreds of thousands of high-wage, high-skill unionised jobs across the country and delivering investment for communities that have been held back for decades. Labour’s ten-year plan will provide the massive public investment needed to radically reduce our emissions and secure a future for our planet.”
Shadow energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “Labour will increase offshore wind generation sevenfold, delivering 52 gigawatts of wind power through £83bn in combined public and private investment creating 67,000 good, unionised jobs. That’s four times the investment and three times the jobs brought in by the enormous Hinkley Point C nuclear power project. And our wind power revolution will be built in Britain: instead of jackets for wind farms located in Scotland being made in Indonesia, we’ll bring those jobs back to Fife.”
The massive expansion in offshore wind under Labour will be financed through joint venture partnerships between publicly-owned Regional Energy Agencies (REAs) and existing offshore wind developers. A total of £83bn will be invested between 2020 and 2030, with £12.5bn of that invested by private sector partners in equity capital.
Labour has committed to setting up REAs in every region, accountable to local authorities and workers. The REAs will be responsible for running the distribution and transmission networks and meeting regional decarbonisation targets to meet Labour’s 60% clean electricity and heat targets.