How Labour can really put the wind up the Tories. Labour is well placed to embarrass the Tories by attacking the Government’s war on the onshore wind industry in the UK. Despite onshore wind now being the cheapest widely available electricity source the Government is actively sabotaging the industry by refusing to allow long term contracts to be issued to wind developers. Meanwhile large subsidies are being offered to gas, coal and nuclear power stations. Under the last Labour Government incentives were given to build up a large increase in onshore wind power, which now supplies around a tenth of UK’s electricity supply, with offshore wind and solar farms now supplying around another ten per cent of UK electricity. But right wing English Tory pressure has prevented any move towards enabling long term contracts to be issued so that new windfarms can be financed. Meanwhile the UK risks becoming increasingly dependent on supplies of gas from places like Russia and Qatar. The Labour frontbench is beginning to realise that young people in particular want to see green energy being given a chance, and, for example, John McDonnell has recently attacked the Tories for failing to doing anything to revive support for the feed-in tariff scheme that helped people install solar panels on their roofs. But attention ought also to be turned to promoting onshore windfarms. Doing so would embarrass the Government and also sow division inside the Tory ranks. More practically, it would offer hope to people who are working in the industry that they might have a future. Places like Grimsby are benefitting from offshore wind projects which are still being built, but onshore wind factories are being closed down, the latest being the Glasgow based Gaia Wind. The Minister of State for Energy, Claire Perry, has, in recent months, been making some encouraging noises about providing some ‘contracts for differences’, but appears to lack the required political clout to do much that changes anything, especially to overcome the vocal hostility of the climate-and-wind sceptical group of Tory MPs.
Dave Toke’s Blog 14th March 2018 read more »