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Labour landslide victory: clean energy sector reacts

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The Labour Party have sealed a landslide victory in the general election, winning 412 of the 650 seats available to them in the House of Commons, bringing the Conservative Party’s 14 year reign to a close in dramatic style.

The result represents the Conservative’s party worst defeat in its parliamentary history, winning just 121 seats and losing over 250. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Penny Mordaunt, Grant Shapps and former Prime Minister Liz Truss were among the twelve cabinet ministers to lose their seats, with former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apologising for the result and confirming that he is to step down as leader, but not immediately.

In his first speech as Prime Minster, Party head Sir Keir Starmer stated that the country had “voted decisively for change, for national renewal and the return of politics to public service”, and that “our work is urgent and we begin it today”.

Prior to the election Labour promised, in its manifesto, to make the country a ‘clean energy superpower’, pledging to double the amount of onshore wind power, triple the power from solar and quadruple offshore wind by 2030, in addition to investing in hydrogen technologies, as well as those to capture and store carbon, and establishing ‘Great British Energy’ – a publicly-owned company to support the development of clean energy projects.

Following the historic win, many across the clean energy sector are understandably excited by the growth potential ahead – here we summarise some of the reaction.

Trevor Hutchings, the new CEO of the REA said:

“We’re pleased to see an incoming Labour administration committed to clean growth and energy decarbonisation.

“We would encourage Sir Keir and his team to galvanise a sector that can boost the UK economy and achieve his target of the highest growth in the G7. Recent research suggests that the previous Governments’ cuts in renewables and clean technology investment over the last decade has added £22bn to UK energy bills. Investing in our sector can mitigate against rising energy costs, improve energy security, create jobs and growth, improve international competitiveness and help address climate change.

“The impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world and the longer we delay the higher the costs of addressing it become. We will also miss out in the global race for investment and talent in the technologies of the future.”

Greg Jackson, Founder of Octopus Energy, commented:

“The results look clear – voters have rejected anti net zero rhetoric and chosen cheaper, cleaner, more secure energy. This looks like a landslide for a green economy.”

Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of Solar Energy UK, warned that Labour’s first year will be ‘critical’ for solar and energy storage sectors, saying:

“We are committed to helping the new Government’s national mission to deliver clean power by 2030. Labour’s first year in power is going to be a critical period for the solar and energy storage sectors – essential for future energy security, lowering energy bills and addressing the climate emergency. We have every confidence that the new Government will demonstrate a more positive attitude towards the industry and so bolster investor confidence.

“To meet Labour’s objective of decarbonising the grid by the end of the decade, it must hit the ground running. That means embracing solar by making swift ministerial decisions on nationally significant solar projects, mandating solar on new homes and revamping the Solar Taskforce’s draft Solar Roadmap to align with the ambitious goal of 50GW of solar capacity by 2030.”

Labour victory - clean energy sector reacts
Labour’s manifesto pledged to turn the UK into a ‘clean energy superpower’, with aims to double the amount of onshore wind and triple solar power by 2030

Mike Thornton, chief executive of Energy Saving Trust, highlighted the importance of the next five years saying: 

“The clear ambition of the incoming UK Government to capitalise on the opportunities of meeting net zero is an essential step change that now needs to be matched with delivery. We welcome the enabling policies designed to lower energy demand, scale up renewables and decarbonise the electricity grid. These are all crucial to strengthen the UK’s energy security and reduce carbon emissions.

“The next five years will be pivotal for cutting energy bills and decarbonising our homes, businesses and communities. Following a period of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that ambition urgently turns into action. The energy crisis and climate emergency haven’t gone away. New Ministers must translate their bold ambitions into detailed roadmaps to insulate more homes, roll out low carbon heating and scale up renewable energy.

“Giving long term signals will be crucial to provide certainty and clarity to both households and industry. With the Paris 2030 agreement deadline fast approaching, there is no time for delay. Through collaboration, determination and using proven delivery models, the incoming government can begin to deliver at the pace and scale we need.”

Christophe Williams, CEO of Naked Energysaid:

“Now Labour is in power, they must end the subsidies on fossil fuels.

“We’re being led to believe by some that we must choose between renewable energy and domestic security – that’s it’s impossible to have both. This is not true. Security of supply for the UK can be secured by ending our dependence on natural gas. Gas prices have risen by 24% over the last three months, and as temperatures get colder in the winter we can expect this to rise further.

“Renewable energy is the only answer for long-term security. The UK has hundreds of small businesses producing innovative renewable technology that can provide our energy needs. What’s been holding them back is an inconsistent and uncertain investment environment.

“We have an opportunity to become world leaders in renewable energy, and it won’t require historical levels of funding. All we need is the Government to provide the support and clarity that will nudge us in the right direction. We have the innovation and the resources to take care of the rest.”

The Chief Executive of RenewableUK, Dan McGrail said:

“Labour’s resounding election victory gives them a clear mandate to deliver their clean energy mission, and we look forward to working closely with the new government to speed up the pace of renewable energy development, with a focus on maximising the industrial and job opportunities the sector offers the UK.

“There are a number of actions we’d encourage the new government to take in the coming weeks to make clear they intend to deliver that mission. Most notably, lifting the effective ban on onshore wind in England and increasing the budget for this year’s Contracts for Difference auction to enable new wind, solar and tidal clean energy projects to go ahead. By increasing the budget as one of its first key actions in office, the new government can make a crucial intervention to unlock billions of pounds of investment in renewable energy projects, lowering bills for consumers, enhancing our energy security, and boosting UK supply chains and high-quality jobs across the country.”

The ADE’s Chief Executive, Caroline Bragg, highlighted the urgent need for the new government to focus on the decarbonisation of the nation’s heat, saying:

“We congratulate the Labour Party on their success last night. The new Government’s commitment to a massive acceleration of renewables will protect us from another energy crisis and our members have the answer to making this work in practice – by creating a smarter system that puts money in the pockets of households and businesses.

“As we know, heating is one of the biggest sources of UK emissions. With the mandate now given to the new Labour Government, now is the time to move decisively towards a low cost, just path for decarbonising heat. Billions of pounds of investment are waiting to invest in zero carbon heat infrastructure across the UK’s cities and towns – all we need is certainty. With decisive action and ambitious targets, we can create hundreds of thousand jobs, drive economic growth and save the UK billions.”

Labour election victory - clean energy sector reacts
Key figures agree: Through swift and decisive action the new government can release the enormous potential of clean energy, at a crucial time in our Net Zero transition   

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, called for more coherent policies to support the sector’s growth, saying 

“As we welcome the new UK Government, Scotland’s renewable energy industry stands ready to play our part in a new era of collaboration and delivery.

“The time to secure our clean energy future is now. Maximising the enormous socio-economic potential of our renewable energy resources calls on the UK Government working in partnership with industry and the Scottish Government. This means delivering a coherent policy environment that says to investors and our supply chain that Scotland is the best place in the world to build the renewables projects that will deliver cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy.

“Scottish Renewables looks forward to working closely with the new UK Government on their clear mandate to unleash our full clean energy potential in the crucial years ahead.”

The biogas association ADBA said that they will press the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary to implement its ten-point programme for green gas in the first year of government, with their Chair, the former Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, saying:

“The key now is delivery. We can build hundreds of new green gas plants by the time of the next election. Green gas can and should grow faster than wind, and second only to solar according to International Energy Agency projections.

“Energy from home-grown green gas will overtake energy from nuclear by 2029 on current trends. Because green gas is created by using waste streams from farming, food and industry, it is a British resource that can protect us against Putin hikes in gas prices and curb our energy imports.”

NFU president Tom Bradshaw labelled the election result as a “reset moment for British agriculture”, highlighting the urgent need to provide greater support for farmers and the key role they play in our transition to a more sustainable society:

“Labour’s manifesto recognised that food security is national security, but it is business confidence which forms the foundation of this,” said Mr Bradshaw.

“With British farmers and growers ambitious for the future, what they – and the public – need are practical policies that revitalise farm business confidence and deliver on our shared mission of food security.

“In a cost-of-living crisis, our ability to provide affordable, climate friendly and high welfare food will be critical for families across the country, as well as underpinning the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, food and drink, and stimulating economic growth.

“That’s why, for Britain’s farmers, the number one priority for the new Labour government must be to set an increased multi-year agriculture budget for the duration of the next Parliament. This is about investing in the future of British farming – in homegrown food, in the environment and in renewable energy.”

CLA President Victoria Vyvyan said

“We congratulate Labour on its election victory. The new government must listen to and learn from the rural community, as farmers and rural business owners can so often provide the solutions to the problems that government faces.

“We will work with Ministers constructively, and perhaps at times robustly, in pursuit of a strong rural economy.

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