UK Labour Unveils Ambitious Green Energy Policy Ahead of General Election

The UK’s Labour opposition launched its flagship clean energy policy on Friday, aiming to address the country’s cost-of-living crisis and distinguish itself from the ruling Conservatives as the general election approaches.

Campaigning in Scotland, Labour leader, Keir Starmer, introduced plans for a publicly owned company, Great British Energy, to lead the funding of green energy projects.

Starmer promised to establish the Scotland-based entity “very quickly” if Labour wins power on July 4. The initiative aims to reduce household energy bills, create jobs, and drive the UK’s transition towards net zero emissions.

“Renewables are cheap. There’s a massive prize here, lower bills, security, the next generation of jobs,” Starmer said, emphasizing that clean power represents a significant opportunity for future employment and economic stability.

However, Conservative Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, criticized the plan as “incoherent” and incapable of ensuring energy security.

In response to concerns about job losses due to Labour’s pledge not to issue new oil and gas drilling licenses in the North Sea, Starmer clarified that the party is not planning to shut down existing operations.

“We’re not turning off the taps, we’re not revoking the licenses, and oil and gas is part of the mix for decades to come,” he assured.

Labour’s policy envisions tens of thousands of new jobs in renewable energy and aims to position Scotland as a leader in technologies like floating offshore wind, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage.

To fund the initiative, Labour plans to borrow £8 billion and seek private investments up to three times that amount, supplemented by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

The upcoming election debates, including the first face-off between Starmer and Sunak on Tuesday and a broader debate with all seven main party leaders on June 13, will further highlight the energy policy as a central campaign issue.

Labour’s strategy contrasts sharply with the Conservative focus on continued oil and gas exploration, with Sunak emphasizing the need to prioritize energy security.

Amid criticism of the government’s climate policy reversals, Labour remains committed to the UK’s 2050 net zero target, backed by former chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.

Starmer stressed that the worst course of action would be to ignore the urgent need for climate action, as he accused Sunak of doing.

Jessica Bayley

Jessica Bayley is an international author and journalist. She covers global affairs, hard news, lifestyle, politics, technology and is also the author of "The Ladies of Belgium."