The solar sector has welcomed the Labour Party’s target of trebling solar by 2030 if it were to be elected.
Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool this week, Keir Starmer set out his support for renewables as part of the party’s Green Prosperity Plan, which also includes a target of using 100% clean power by 2030, announced on Twitter over the weekend.
According to Starmer, this would require a “huge national effort” that will double the country’s onshore wind capacity, treble solar power, quadruple offshore wind, and see investment in tidal, hydrogen and nuclear.
As well as growing generation, the plan includes backing carbon capture, committing to green steel production, building new renewable ports and gigafactories, and insulating 19 million homes.
All this would turn Britain into a “green growth superpower”, said Starmer, leading to “cheaper bills and higher living standards”.
“Let’s get clean hydrogen energy in South Yorkshire, in the East of England, across the river in the Wirral. Offshore wind in Scotland, Teesside, East and North Yorkshire. Solar power growing rural communities, in the South East, South West and Midlands,” he continued.
“This will require a different way of working – the biggest partnership between government, business and communities this country has ever seen. It will mean new jobs – more than a million new jobs, training for plumbers, electricians, engineers, software designers, technicians, builders. And it will all start within the first 100 days of a new Labour government.”
Prices through the roof.
Energy security at a premium.
There’s no higher priority for me than fixing this. With Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan, we will. pic.twitter.com/KXCUOWjuhq
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) September 28, 2022
The solar sector has welcomed this support for renewables, which would see the UK’s electricity system becoming zero-carbon five years earlier than the current target set by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“The entire solar industry will be very happy with the warm support for the industry given by Kier Starmer today,” said Chris Hewett, chief executive of Solar Energy UK.
“It is very welcome that the Labour leadership is so clearly aware of the huge benefits offered by cheap, clean solar power, rather than undermining one of the fastest growing industries in the country.”
The support follows concern from the solar sector about government support of the technology, after current Prime Minister Liz Truss dubbed it “paraphernalia” within a speech that formed part of her leadership campaign.
Truss suggested that the use of land for ground-mount solar could threaten food security, a claim roundly rejected by the sector, which has emphasised that if every solar farm currently put forward was built, this would still account for less than 0.4% of the UK’s agricultural land and 0.28% of the UK’s entire land area.