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UK Labour’s energy policy means that nuclear energy could be prioritised over renewables

Dave Toke’s Blog 15th June 2019   Labour’s proposals to take the national and regional energy grid back
into public ownership may give a boost to workers’ interests over
shareholder profits, but the way the proposals are set out produces an
increased risk of nuclear power being given priority over renewable energy.

Put simply that is because the way the proposals are structured means more
power to the GMB in particular, a body which is very pro-nuclear and which
is relatively hostile to renewable energy and a smart energy network.
Labour announced the plan, in May, to take the transmission and
distribution energy structure into public ownership, as well as plans to
set up a ‘National Energy Agency’ (to run the National Grid), Regional
Energy Agencies (to run regional distribution), and give opportunities for
municipal ownership of distribution on a local basis.

This plan can achieve traditional Labour Movement objectives, but its impact on pushing forward a
green agenda is doubtful. Put bluntly, the more that power is given to
bodies that will be influenced by organisations like the GMB (who favour
centralised power station solutions), the less useful will be the outcome.
The proposals make a gesture in favour of municipalisation, but for most
places the reality will be central control.

Control over the grid should be
given to local authorities as a matter of course, perhaps in consortia
(certainly at a national, transmission, level). Local authorities are
influenced by the local electorate and local citizen groups. They will be
sympathetic to green energy priorities. On the other hand centrally owned
quangos will be insulated from such democratic input and will be under the
thumb of the existing industrial establishment. Innovation will go out of
the window.

 

June 17, 2019 - Posted by | politics, UK

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