General Election: the industry responds

Ruth Herbert, Chief Executive, Carbon Capture & Storage Association:
“The CCSA looks forward to working with Keir Starmer’s government to put the UK at the forefront of the green Industrial Revolution. We have the opportunity to manufacture low carbon cement and glass here in the UK, rather than import it from elsewhere. Carbon Capture and Storage clusters in the UK have the potential to attract around £30bn of private capital to industrial regions by 2030, boosting local economies whilst our industry decarbonises. The first step is final investment decisions on the first two clusters in the north of England – the negotiations have almost concluded and now Ministerial sign off is required – providing the perfect opportunity to follow through on manifesto commitments on industrial decarbonisation and clean power within the first few weeks of this government.”

Dan McGrail, CEO, RenewableUK:
“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 Labour 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.”

Trevor Hutchings, CEO, Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology:
“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. Recentr. 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.”

Rachel Solomon Williams, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group:
“With this result, the public has recognised the economic and social benefits that a strong climate and environmental policy programme can deliver for the country. Business leaders, too, have been consistent in calling for a credible plan to deliver emissions reductions and protect nature: they know that this will be vital to place the UK economy on a strong footing for the future, and address the chronic levels of underinvestment that we’ve endured in recent years. They will be looking for the policy signals they need from the new government to drive the investment that can boost prosperity. “

Caroline Bragg, Chief Executive, ADE:
“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.”

Matthew Clayton, Managing Director, Thrive Renewables
“We welcome change and look forward to prioritising action in light of the climate emergency.
“Labour’s manifesto outlined its plans to put people at the heart of the energy transition and we were particularly pleased to see more support for community energy projects through its Local Power Plan – helping ensure the benefits of renewables are felt locally. After nine long years, we also hope to see the block on onshore wind in England removed in its entirety, levelling the planning playing field with other infrastructure, and ensuring we can harness our abundant wind power. This will go a huge way in helping the UK to achieve its long-term net zero goals, while delivering cheaper, cleaner power for homes and businesses at a time when it is so vitally needed.”

Hilary Leevers, CEO, EngineeringUK:
“As the new government has rightly recognised, we need to nurture a greater pool of talent in engineering and technology including more apprenticeship opportunities for young people, to meet current demand and to help our economy to thrive and to achieve our net zero goal.
“We have been asking for a national engineering and technology workforce strategy for some time to streamline coherent action and replace the current approach of different areas developing their own solutions in isolation, and sometimes, effectively, in competition.
“In order to address skills shortages in the future, the workforce strategy needs to link to a comprehensive education and skills plan underpinned by enhanced careers advice in schools and an urgent solution to current STEM teacher shortages.

Asif Ghafoor, CEO, Be.EV:
“Labour should introduce a simple mandate that compels every local authority to open up 50% of their land for private companies to install EV chargers. They don’t have the capital or expertise to do it themselves. We don’t want any more rules or changes – that’s a headache for everyone. What we really need is continuity and certainty. This will really help charging networks to expand.
“There needs to be some encouragement to drivers, and we have a few options here. We could reduce the power cost for those who switch and get rid of the VAT on public EV charging costs. Norway is a good example. They gave free exemptions to the toll for EV drivers and gave free local authority parking as well. These aren’t expensive and they went a long way in creating a more positive feel about EVs.

Christophe Williams, CEO, Naked Energy:
“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.
“At the moment we’re importing liquefied natural gas from the US. This should only be a backup – it’s far too expensive to be the solution.”

Sam Hollister, Head of Market Insight, LCP:
“A new government brings the benefit of providing political stability for the next few years. The scale of ambition we are seeing from Labour when it comes to the energy transition is necessary – we can’t take risks with the climate. While Labour’s accelerated targets will be a challenge, GB Energy, in particular, is an interesting proposal that can support delivery by co-investing and crowding in private sector funding. We need to invest £430bn in decarbonising the power sector by 2050, and the State is not going to provide that level of funding, so the £8.3bn allocated to GB Energy needs the opportunity to play a pivotal role in bringing forward private investment.
“This is not all about investment; even the additional funding and new schemes outlined in Labour’s manifesto would not be enough to reach the ambitious targets if operated in isolation. All new schemes must be carefully coordinated to maximise synergies, and additional enabling steps must be taken. Planning consent and connection agreement processes are currently hindering the delivery of renewable projects. Setting out new national policy statements will therefore be crucial in speeding up the pipeline.”

Sustainable Energy Association:
“We hope that the new Labour Government will stay true on its manifesto commitments to:
Invest an extra £6.6 billion in energy efficiency upgrades for the benefit of 5 million homes.
Introduce greater standards for private rented homes.
Offer grants and low interest loans to support investment in insulation, solar panels, batteries, and low carbon heating.
“The SEA will continue to advocate for a fabric first, technology agnostic approach to deliver buildings fit for the future, and we look forward to working with government and industry to drive real change.”

Celia Greaves, CEO, The Hydrogen Energy Association:
“A lot has been achieved but we have to move quickly to reap the benefits of hydrogen across clean growth, energy resilience and Net Zero goals which the Labour government understands.
“Our new Prime Minister has to realise the ambition with policy specifics to underpin the rhetoric and be prepared to make the big decisions that are required to drive change.”

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