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rebecca long bailey labour party conference

Labour unveils plans for offshore wind farms and electric vehicle ‘gigafactory’

Image credit: reuters

At its annual conference in Brighton, the Labour Party has announced plans to construct thirty-seven new offshore wind farms and make £3bn available to invest in new electric car technology, if it enters government.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said there would be a 51 per cent public stake in the wind farms, with profits invested into coastal communities.

“While UK’s offshore wind industry is still young, the UK has the opportunity to avoid replicating Britain’s experience with North Sea oil and instead to learn from countries such as Norway and Sweden by owning what is already ours,” Long-Bailey said in a statement.

It would cost £83bn, invested between 2020 and 2030, with £58bn coming from “limited-recourse project finance from the private sector”.

With existing wind generation considered, the plan would seek to generate 52 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, roughly equivalent to 38 coal power stations.

While the cost of offshore wind tumbled below £40 per megawatt hour of electricity last week, Labour said deployment was too slow and that jobs and revenue were being taken outside the UK.

“Instead of jackets for wind farms located in Scotland being made in Indonesia, we’ll bring those jobs back to Fife,” Long-Bailey said. “As part of our Green Industrial Revolution, we can tackle the climate emergency and create a better economy for us all.”

Labour also announced that £3bn would be made available to invest in new electric car models and technology. It said it would exempt new investment in plant and machinery from business rates.

£2bn will be set aside to go towards the construction of three battery plants or ‘gigafactories’ to manufacture the batteries needed for electric cars. These facilities would be located in South Wales, Stoke and Swindon, with each employing 3,184 workers.

Andrea Leadsom, the current government's business secretary, responded saying: “Labour’s plans to nationalise huge swathes of the energy network will damage the economy and our vital efforts to tackle climate change.

“Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are putting the need to tackle climate change at the core of everything we do. We became one of the first major countries in the world to legislate to end our contribution to global warming completely by 2050.

“Business has an important part to play in achieving this ambitious target and it is by working with business that we’ve ensured offshore wind will provide more than a third of our electricity by 2030, tripling the number of jobs in the industry and keeping bills low for consumers.”

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