Labour’s Ed Miliband has cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s new announcement to power all UK homes with renewable wind power by 2030, saying that “Boris Johnson rarely delivers on his rhetoric”.
The Shadow Business Secretary said funding for the scheme, which will be unveiled in Johnson’s speech to the virtual Conservative Party conference today, was “a drop in the ocean” of what is needed to effectively transition to renewables.
Johnson will set out plans to invest £160m in the new scheme over the next ten years, including to help manufacture a new generation of floating windmills that will be capable of delivering one gigawatt of energy to the UK by 2030.
Labour has said the funding “pales in comparison” to the amount being spent on renewables by other European countries, including Germany, which have pledged to spend €40bn on green jobs as part of their Covid stimulus package.
Commenting on the government’s proposals, Miliband said: “Nothing in the Prime Minister’s re-announcement today on wind energy targets will tackle the immediate jobs crisis our country faces.
“We need ambition on renewable energy, but Boris Johnson rarely delivers on his rhetoric. The funding announced today spread over ten years is a drop in the ocean and pales in comparison to the investment by France and Germany in green jobs.
“The government must urgently bring forward a genuinely ambitious green recovery that will create jobs now on the scale needed to meet the challenge of the climate emergency and unemployment crisis.”
The government has been under pressure in recent months for failing to set out any plans to meet its proposed target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, apart from allocating new funding for insulating homes.
The UK already has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind anywhere in the world, but under the Prime Minister’s new proposals 60% of all offshore wind energy would be coming from the UK.
The new programme would also make the UK produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030 through renewables, with 40 gigawatts of the UK’s energy demand set to be produced by wind.
Downing Street has claimed that the new £160m investment would directly create 2,000 construction jobs as well as enable the sector to support up to 60,000 additional jobs in ports, factories and supply chains.
By comparison, Labour’s proposed green new deal from the 2019 general election manifesto pledged to create one million jobs in a variety of green industries to help combat the threat of climate change.
The Prime Minister will tell the Conservative conference today: “We believe that in 10 years’ time offshore wind will be powering every home in the country, with our target rising from 30 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts.
“Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle – the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.”
The UK is set to chair the next round of the COP26 UN climate talks, which were delayed from their initial November date to next year as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Former climate minister Claire Perry O’Neill was sacked from her role as the president of the climate summit in February due to what she claimed was Downing Street’s inability to “cope” with an independent group managing the event.