The Green Party has pledged to kick-start solar and other renewable technologies with new support schemes as part of the creation of an “energy system fit for the 21st century” set out in its energy and the environment manifesto.
Launched on the same day that Labour’s draft manifesto was leaked, the Green Party set out its stall regarding energy and the environment, seeking to address what it labelled a “broken” energy system that is failing customers and citizens.
While the document was light on specific details, the party said it would ensure all new energy investment was directed towards renewables and supportive technologies, including smart grids, battery storage, demand-side measures and interconnectors.
A ban on fracking would be introduced immediately while fossil fuel subsidies would be phased out. In turn, new support schemes for onshore wind and solar PV would be introduced.
Onshore wind has been effectively banned under the Conservative government after David Cameron made it a manifesto promise in 2015 to trim all subsidies for the technology and limit its deployment through planning measures, while solar’s travails since the end of the Renewables Obligation scheme and cuts to the feed-in tariff have been well documented.
The Green Party would look to reverse this while also making significant investments in transport electrification and charging infrastructure which, combined with battery storage, smart grids and DSR support, would combine for a more flexible power network.
It would also create a new Green Investment and Innovation Centre to replace the recently privatised Green Investment bank and facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy.
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said that “dynamic action on climate change has never been more urgent”.
“The UK must lead the world in building a green economy and investing in a viable future - one that respects and nurtures the natural systems on which we depend. The Greens are the only party to truly recognise the importance of the environment.
“Our economic prosperity depends on the natural world... Building a successful economy is not at odds with protecting our environment, it is impossible without it. A prosperous, thriving future will be green - or not at all,” she said.