Labour unveils People’s Power Plan to build offshore wind farms

Elliot Chappell

Labour will announce a ‘People’s Power Plan’ to build 37 offshore wind farms and reinvest their profits to tackle climate change at conference today.

Rebecca Long-Bailey is expected to unveil the plan to build the wind farms with a 51% publicly-owned stake in her speech to members and trade union delegates.

The UK has more offshore wind farms than any other country, but all are owned by private and foreign public firms, and deployment of new farms is very slow according to Labour.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will outline her vision, explaining that the next Labour government will deploy clean power at scale to deal with the climate emergency. The plan aims to deliver 52GW of offshore wind by 2030, the equivalent of 38 coal power stations and a stark increase on the government’s current commitment of 30GW.

Long-Bailey is expected to say: “Britain has long benefited from its windy shores, with the wind playing an essential role in our history as a seafaring nation. Our wind will soon become our largest energy source.”

Referring to public ownership, she will tell conference: “The UK has the opportunity to avoid replicating Britain’s experience with North Sea Oil and instead to learn from countries such as Norway and Sweden by owning what is already ours.

“By taking a stake in offshore wind, we can collectively benefit from the profits, investing them back into our held back coastal communities. That wind will turn into harbour fronts and libraries. Instead of jackets for wind farms located in Scotland being made in Indonesia, we’ll bring those jobs back to Fife.

“As part of our Green Industrial Revolution – we can tackle the climate emergency and create a better economy for us all.”

The People’s Power Plan will see the regional energy agencies announced by Labour in May take responsibility for owning, developing and operating a 51% public stake in the new offshore wind farms, similar to the operation of publicly-owned energy companies in Belgium, Germany and Denmark. Labour plans to invest £83bn along the UK coastline, in partnership with private and foreign public companies.

A 30% fall in price last week has made offshore wind one of the lowest-cost sources of energy in the UK, while wind farms provide an estimated 14% of power throughout the EU.

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