UK Labour Proposes to Build 37 Public-Private Offshore Wind Farms

The UK’s Labour Party has announced plans to build 37 new offshore wind farms with a 51 percent publicly owned stake.

Offshore wind prices fell by 30 percent last week and there are more offshore wind farms installed in the UK than any other country. But deployment is still too slow, and all sites are owned by private and foreign public firms, taking jobs and revenue out of the UK, Labour said.

Under the ‘People’s Power Plan’, Labour would deliver 52GW of offshore wind by 2030, leading to a total of GBP 83 billion of government and private sector funding being invested along the UK coastline, in partnership with private and foreign public companies.

A ‘People’s Power Fund’ would be created from 20 percent of all profits from the publicly owned stake, investing between GBP 600 – GBP 1,020 million each year into ‘bricks and mortar’ infrastructure in held-back coastal communities such as harbour fronts, leisure centres, libraries, and parks.

The remaining 80 percent of public profits would be reinvested into new renewables generation, improvements to the wider energy system, and climate transition.

Labour’s Regional Energy Agencies would be responsible for owning, developing and operating a 51% public stake in new offshore wind farms – similar to the role of public energy companies in Belgium, Germany, and Denmark.

The People’s Power Plan is projected to create at least 67,000 new unionised high-skilled jobs in the offshore wind sector, with particular concentrations in Scotland, Yorkshire & Humber, East Anglia and North-East England, Labour said.

“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,” Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Labour’s Shadow Business and Energy Secretary, said.

“By taking a stake in offshore wind, we can collectively benefit from the profits, investing them back into our held back coastal communities. That wind will turn into harbour fronts and libraries. Instead of jackets for wind farms located in Scotland being made in Indonesia, we’ll bring those jobs back to Fife.”

Photo: SSE/Illustration

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