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What does the future of community energy look like under the new Labour Government?

In a historic victory announced on 4th July 2024, the Labour Party won the General Election, with Sir Keir Starmer replacing former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This victory marks a significant shift in British politics, as Keir Starmer becomes the 58th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the fifth Labour Prime Minister to win a general election after Ramsay MacDonald, Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, and Tony Blair.

 

Upon announcing his victory, Prime Minister Keir Starmer declared, “CHANGE BEGINS NOW.” With this slogan, the new Labour Party is set to distinguish itself from its predecessors, promising a renewed focus on serving the country and addressing the damages caused by the previous Conservative government.


Kier Starmer standing at a lectern after winning the election

 Labour Party's Vision for the Energy Sector


The Labour Party's manifesto outlines an ambitious plan for the energy sector, focusing on clean energy and sustainability. Here are the key steps and initiatives they have promised:


Local Power Plan


Labour's Local Power Plan, part of its broader mission to achieve zero-carbon electricity by 2030, presents significant implications for the community energy sector in the UK. The plan aims to invest up to £1 billion annually in community green energy initiatives, with £400 million earmarked for low-interest loans to community-owned energy projects and £600 million for local authorities​ (Community Energy England)​​ (New Statesman)​.


The key components of the Local Power Plan include:

Labour's Local Power Plan document cover
  1. Investment in Local Projects: The plan will fund thousands of community-led renewable energy projects such as solar panels on public buildings and community wind farms. This decentralisation of energy generation aims to empower local communities, enabling them to generate, store, and control their own clean energy​ (Community Energy England)​​ (Co-operative Party)​.

  2. Economic and Social Benefits: By focusing on local ownership and control, the plan seeks to ensure that the economic benefits of renewable energy projects stay within the communities. This includes direct cost-of-living support through energy bill discounts and reinvestment of profits into local community initiatives​ (New Statesman)​.

  3. Support for Cooperative Models: The plan supports cooperative models where residents can collectively own and benefit from renewable energy projects. This approach is inspired by successful models in countries like Germany and Denmark, where a significant portion of renewable energy is owned by local residents​ (New Statesman)​.

  4. Removal of Regulatory Barriers: Labour's plan proposes to streamline the planning process and provide seed capital to help community projects overcome initial financial and regulatory hurdles, thereby facilitating a more rapid expansion of the community energy sector​ (New Statesman)​.

  5. Partnerships with GB Energy: The newly proposed publicly owned energy company, GB Energy, will play a crucial role in partnering with local councils and communities to develop renewable energy projects, ensuring that these initiatives are aligned with broader national goals​ (Community Energy England)​​ (Co-operative Party)​.


Clean Power by 2030

The Labour Party aims to achieve 100% clean power by 2030. This will be accomplished through:

  • Doubling onshore wind capacity

  • Tripling solar power capacity

  • Quadrupling offshore wind capacity

  • Investment in Carbon Capture and Storage

  •  Focus on Hydrogen and Marine Energy


Energy Independence Act

Labour plans to introduce a new Energy Independence Act to stabilise the framework for energy and climate policies. This act aims to ensure energy security and reduce reliance on external energy sources.


The Great British Energy Initiative


A poster of the new GB Energy with a wind turbine

A key part of Labour's strategy is the creation of Great British Energy, a publicly owned company designed to promote homegrown energy production. This initiative, summarised by the motto "By the British people, to the British people," will focus on: 


  • Partnering with industry and trade unions

  • Investing in leading technologies

  • Supporting capital-intensive projects


Labour will capitalise Great British Energy with £8.3 billion over the next parliament. Local power generation will also be prioritised, with a combined effect of onshore wind, solar, and hydropower projects brought into action.


A New Era for Britain and Croydon


The new Labour government under Keir Starmer promises to turn the page on the past and rebuild the country with a focus on innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity. The steps outlined in their manifesto reflect a commitment to restoring hope and addressing the challenges facing the nation. As the new government begins its tenure, the eyes of the country and the world will be watching to see how these ambitious plans unfold.


Community energy initiatives are set to benefit significantly, starting with Croydon in the UK. The local and national governments will work together to ensure Croydon has a greener future.


The new MPs for Croydon are:


Croydon East: Natasha Irons, Labour Party

Croydon West: Sarah Jones, Labour Party

Croydon South: Chris Philp, Conservative Party

Streatham & Croydon North: Steve Reed, Labour Party and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


With the Labour Party holding a majority in Croydon, local communities stand to gain. Labour's manifesto includes inviting communities to bring forward their visions and projects, collaborating with local leaders and the government to ensure local benefits directly from energy production. This collaborative approach aims to empower communities and ensure they are active participants in the transition to greener energy.


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You say "The Labour Party aims to achieve two-thirds clean power by 2030" but I think you'll find it is aiming at 100% clean power by 2030. See page 6 of its energy strategy document, which says: "By 2030, the UK will be the first major country in the world to run on 100 per cent clean and cheap power". That's a huge difference!

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Thanks Nick, I’ve amended this now!

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