The UK Conservative Party has published its policy manifesto in the lead-up to the surprise General Election called back in April, giving a strong signal that the Conservative Government, if re-elected, will deliver a clean and diverse energy mix, but one without any new onshore wind farms.
Announced back in April, UK Prime Minister Theresa May called a surprise General Election which will be held on June 8, which will likely see the Conservatives strengthen their grip on power in an apparent effort to unite the people behind May as she negotiates fair terms for the British exit (Brexit) from the European Union. Since the election was called, renewable energy groups across the UK have called on both parties to commit to a strong and clear vision for the renewable energy industry. Earlier this month trade bodies RenewableUK, the Renewable Energy Association, and Scottish Renewables all published their own manifestos laying out the benefits of renewable energy for the UK and ways that the new government can support the industry and further its growth.
Published on Thursday, the current holders of power, the UK Conservative Party, published their policy manifesto, Forward Together. The manifesto obviously outlines a number of policy areas, but it was the Conservatives’ promises for “competitive and affordable energy costs” and a “diverse range of sources for Britain’s energy production” that encouraged UK renewable energy trade bodies this week.
“A successful industrial strategy requires competitive and affordable energy costs,” the manifesto reads. “We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and households.” The first move, therefore, will be to commission an independent review into the cost of energy in the UK, with the Conservatives “ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses.”
The Conservatives are also promising a “diverse energy mix” — “because a diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation, and also to ensure that we are getting the right generation in the right place.” This is a two-edged sword, however, with the Conservatives promising to support the offshore wind energy industry, and “support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland,” but also announcing that the party does “not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England.”
“Renewables can offer much to the next Government: these modern, game-changing technologies have resolved the decades-old problem of delivering an affordable, secure supply of low-carbon electricity,” said Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of RenewableUK, the trade body behind wind, wave, and tidal energy. “It’s good to see the Conservative manifesto focussing on energy policy outcomes like these. Our industries can help a future Conservative government to deliver these and more.”
“The manifesto is a solid building block for the transition to a lower-cost, lower-carbon future,” added Dr. Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association.
“Our members will be pleased with the renewed commitment to the 2050 carbon targets and the transposition of existing EU law into the UK, as well as a commitment to leading the world in low-carbon transport.
“The next parliament will bring us to 2022, and during that time energy markets will change almost unrecognisably. The UK can reap the benefits and be at the forefront of the cutting-edge technologies in this global energy revolution. It will lead to a cheap, clean and smart energy mix. If Britain is going to continue to lead the world, however, it needs clear leadership at a national level to avoid falling behind our competitors.”
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