Labour’s recently announced green policies “aren’t particularly credible” and would cost a huge amount of money.
That’s the call from Kwasi Kwarteng, who was the headline speaker for this year’s Energy Live Expo at the QEII Centre in Westminster.
In a wide-ranging speech to hundreds of delegates, he said the UK has already made considerable progress on the journey to net zero – he noted the UK has already cut carbon dioxide emissions by around 45% since 1990, despite the economy growing by two-thirds over this time.
He also acknowledged the UK’s international leadership on globalisation, suggesting many countries from around the world look to Britain as a leader – however, he stressed going forward, the nation would need a strong government and a mandate to make the short-term and long-term decisions needed about issues such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the UK’s nuclear fleet.
When questioned about Labour’s recent promises to build 37 publicly-owned wind farms, cut UK carbon emissions by 10% and fund £60 billion of energy-saving upgrades by 2030, he argued that such plans were unrealistic and doubted whether the money needed would be available.
He added: “Their offshore wind policy I think was extraordinary, they were saying we’re going to have state-owned wind farms and the state will own 51%. Who’s going to want to own the other 49%? That’s not an attractive proposition and I don’t think it was a well-thought-through policy.”
The Energy Minister also emphasised that economic growth and becoming sustainable are “absolutely compatible”, despite the fact they are often seen “as opponents, as antagonistic forces if you like, as mutually incompatible.”
He said the opposite was true and claimed that in many cases, growth can actually be driven by driving down emissions, noting offshore wind as an example – he noted the sector has brought jobs, money and progress to the UK while enabling the amount of fossil fuels being burned to be significantly reduced.