Renewables industry positive on Conservative manifesto

The renewables industry has reacted positively to the Conservative’s manifesto which reaffirmed commitment to Climate Change Act and opened the door to new onshore wind projects on the Scottish islands.

The Tory manifesto said: “We want to see a diverse range of sources for Britain’s energy production, because a diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation, and also to ensure that we are getting the right generation in the right place.

“For instance, while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.”
Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive at trade body RenewableUK, welcomed the policy document, pointing out: “The Conservative manifesto highlights the UK’s position as a global leader in offshore wind, and its achievement in becoming a mainstream power source, investing millions in places such as Hull and Grimsby.”

Climate change commitments

The Conservative’s election pledges also included a recommitment to the targets set under the Climate Change Act.

It also said the UK would continue to lead international action to tackle global warming.

“As Conservatives, we are committed to leaving the environment in better condition than we inherited it,” the document said.
Renewable Energy Association Chief Executive Nina Skorupska noted: “Our members will be pleased with the renewed commitment to the 2050 carbon targets and the transposition of existing European Union law into the UK, as well as a commitment to leading the world in low-carbon transport.”

Shale gas

The Tories also cemented their support for shale gas extraction, drawing comparisons with how the resource had reduced the United States’ dependence on imported energy.

The party said it would set up a Shale Environmental Regulator to govern the industry and give the public confidence in the process.

But John Sauven, Executive Director at environmental charity Greenpeace UK, warned: “The major flaw in the manifesto’s energy plans is the continued support for unpopular and unproven fracking, based on a misguided comparison between the US and the UK.”

Union prospect pointed out that the Conservative manifesto was the only one of the three main party manifestos not to mention a positive role of nuclear energy or a solution to the UK leaving the Euratom Treaty as part of Brexit.

Prospect's general secretary Mike Clancy said: “The development of new nuclear capacity is absolutely central to the UK’s energy needs and the growth of a modern nuclear industry.

“Given the scale of the challenges facing the UK – Brexit, renewing our energy infrastructure and meeting our climate targets – it is a worrying sign that the Conservative manifesto is silent on the role of nuclear.”

> Read the Conservative manifesto