The Labour Party has unveiled a report setting out an accelerated plan to fully eliminate carbon emissions from the UK's energy system by 2030, including goals of installing 8 million heat pumps and insulating 27 million homes.
The 30 by 2030 report - which refers to its 30 "transformational" recommendations - proposes installing 7,000 off-shore wind turbines in the next decade, re-starting the onshore turbine sector by installing an additional 2,000 units, and adding enough solar panels to triple the UK's current capacity.
It suggests there would be a major economic benefit to pursuing a fast-track strategy over the next decade, representing "a very substantial uplift to the GDP of the UK" and helping to create 850,000 skilled jobs.
The recommendations in this report could put the UK on track for a zero-carbon energy system during the 2030's - but only if rapid progress is made early on
Rebecca Long Bailey, shadow energy secretary
The report was commissioned by the Labour Party in line with the policy adopted at its conference to "work towards a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030".
It will also help to shape the party's manifesto for the widely-predicted general election.
Specific proposals include:
- changing building regulations to mandate a zero carbon building standard for new homes from 2020, where the current consultation proposal is to achieve this by 2025;
- retrofitting "almost all" the 27 million homes in the UK for energy efficiency, ideally at Energy Performance Certificate level A or B, but making level C the targeted minimum;
- converting buildings heated via natural gas to use heat pumps and hybrid heat pumps;
- increasing levels of renewable gas or blending low-carbon hydrogen with the natural gas supply;
- trialling and expanding tidal energy to around 3GW of capacity, with at least one medium scale tidal-lagoon demonstration scheme operating by the early 2020s;
- supporting hydro energy expansion across the UK, adding a 500 MW to UK capacity by 2030.
Welcoming the report, Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Labour's shadow business and energy secretary, said: "This report makes a major contribution to Labour's plans to kickstart a Green Industrial Revolution.
"The Labour Party has among the most ambitious climate targets in the world and is the only party turning their targets into detailed, credible plans to tackle the climate and environmental crisis.
"Inaction on climate by Conservative and Lib-Dem Coalition Governments has led to a lost decade in the race to cut emissions from our energy system. The recommendations in this report could put the UK on track for a zero-carbon energy system during the 2030's - but only if rapid progress is made early on. The next five years are therefore crucial.
"We are working with trade unions to ensure that the changes to our energy system will be planned democratically, with the interests of workers and local communities at the heart of the transition."
The aspirations expressed have been judged to "represent the upper limit of technical feasibility" by a group of independent experts, who also agree that the proposals "should be seen as appropriate to the scale of the climate emergency we find ourselves in".
The academics, policy experts and practitioners lending their support to 30 by 2030 are:
- Professor John Barrett, Energy and Climate Policy, University of Leeds;
- Professor Tim Green, director, Energy Futures Lab, Imperial College London;
- Dr Rob Gross, director, Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, Imperial College London;
- Dr Stephen Hall, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds;
- James Price, principal research associate, The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, UCL;
- Russell Smith, managing director, Retrofitworks;
- Professor Benjamin Sovacool of the Energy Policy, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex; and
- Joanne Wade, deputy director, The Association for Decentralised Energy
The report was written by a team of authors headed by Tom Bailey, formerly of the Arup consultancy and the C40 cities project.
The authors drew on reports and evidence from third-party organisations, such as National Grid, the UK Green Building Council, the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand, and the UK Energy Research Centre.