What A Labour Government Means For Energy

Last updated: July 11, 2024

The UK has just seen the levers of power transfer parties for the first time in more than 14 years. This comes with Labour recently forming a new government under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer.

With a Labour majority in Parliament and a new cabinet formed, what does all this mean for our energy industries?

Note: Energy Guide does not take political sides and wishes to provide fair and balanced reporting. Any apparent slants or favouritism are unintended.

Labour’s Key Energy Goals

While Labour’s party manifesto received some mixed responses, it laid out, among other objectives, an ambitious energy plan. This includes total clean energy by 2030. The UK’s current target (as set out by the prior Conservative government in 2019) is for net zero by 2050.

As daring a target as clean energy by 2030 is, Labour and Starmer appear determined to transform UK’s energy generation. Starmer’s vision also comes with a strong poverty-alleviation angle.

Specified Energy Targets

Key targets listed in the party’s 2024 manifesto include a long-term reduction in energy bills, national energy self-reliance and improving the cleanliness of British rivers.

More concrete goals include working alongside the private sector to:

  • x2 Onshore Wind by 2030
  • x3 Solar Power by 2030
  • x4 Offshore Wind by 2030

Labour also intends to introduce an Energy Independence Act to further clarify their energy and climate ambitions in policy form. In government, they will also aim to invest in hydrogen and even carbon capture and storage.

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Lastly, Labour is eyeing the creation of a governmental investment body ‘Great British Energy’.

Labour intends for this publicly-owned company to establish partnerships before co-investing in technology at the frontier of 21st-century energy. This will begin with an £8.3 billion government support. All in all, Labour hopes the sum total of their energy goals will create 650,000 new jobs altogether.

Summarising Labour’s Energy Ambitions

As with any new government, left or right, it is only when their promises are put to the test (and to the extent they are put into practice to begin with) can we better evaluate the impact of the said government in power.

That aside, Labour now has at least five years (assuming no early election) to begin working on their energy goals.

There had been debates recently surrounding how much enthusiasm there really was behind the electorate voting in a Labour majority. This is partially signified by Labour claiming many slim victories on the constituencies level.

However, the party’s mandate for a major energy transformation that leans into green renewables still stands firm partly given the scale of their majority. This is greatly complemented by a growth in the number of Green and Liberal Democrats MPs in Parliament.

Energy Department Under Ed Miliband

Former Labour party leader Ed Miliband is now Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero or DESNZ.

Miliband who has served the Doncaster North constituency since the mid-2000s joins a new cabinet notable for 92% of its members having been educated through comprehensive schooling.

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Miliband addressed his colleagues is an open letter highlighting his eagerness to reduce economic inequality and tackle the climate crisis in his new post.

He expanded on Labour’s plan to reduce energy bills permanently, citing the economic hurdles facing households and businesses nationwide.

The open letter noted that work on achieving Labour’s energy goals will begin right away. Miliband also discussed the goal of creating new jobs in Britain’s industrial centres.

Further, he mentioned ensuring a positive transition for North Sea energy industries, which is a contentious topic given that major job losses have been predicted (with this prediction made before the election). This highlights a general imperative for a Labour government to balance a green transition and employment concerns, locally and nationally.

What Else We Know So Far

As discussed, Labour is targeting 100% clean energy by 2030. To help get the ball rolling, climate expert Chris Stark is to lead a ‘Mission control centre’ (a.k.a. an energy taskforce) to hone in on reaching clean and more affordable energy by 2030.

Stark who formerly lead the nation’s climate watchdog is set to work alongside energy companies and energy regulators to reach Labour’s targets.

A press release from GOV.UK also explained how Stark will lead a team of energy experts. These experts will be tasked with accelerating progress on a range of energy projects.

The ‘mission control centre’ will enable experts and officials to find solutions and negotiate where needed to help enable progress for Labour’s new energy projects.

The centre is also intended to co-ordinate with the likes of Ofgem and the Natonal Grid to make the whole process run smoothly and effectively.

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Possible Future Trajectories

How the next five years unfold will largely depend on how Labour approaches their objectives and how viable they prove. Of course, it will likely take several months until we can see what all this looks like in practice.

Naturally, a host of factors will determine the success levels for these projects. These factors might include the economy, geopolitics, the global state of energy and general investment trends, public and private.

Notably, there is already good news on the investment front with a recent AlphaReal survey showing that an array of UK pension funds and insurers (managing over £350 billion) intend to significantly increase their renewables investments in the years ahead.

As Labour looks set to put more plans into motion, the months and years ahead will unveil how viable Starmer’s goals are and to what extent they might transform the UK’s energy industries, economy and jobs market.