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Starmer confirms floating offshore wind will be GB Energy’s ‘priority’

25 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (2nd left) and new Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething (left) during a visit to the Port of Holyhead. Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants the UK to lead the world on floating offshore wind, which he confirmed will be the “priority” of a Labour government’s publicly-owned clean energy company.

On a visit to North Wales with new First Minister Vaughan Gething on Monday, the Labour leader said GB Energy will “put in the money” in floating wind farms to “ensure private investors come in behind us”.

The Tories have attacked Labour’s plan as “unfunded”, though Sir Keir branded the claims as “unpatriotic”.

Labour has already announced that GB Energy, a new state-owned company with an initial £8.3 billion budget to invest in clean homegrown power and make Britain energy secure, will be headquartered in Scotland.

Holyhead

Speaking to the BBC in Holyhead, Sir Keir said: “I think it’s (floating offshore wind) going to be one of the main drivers for the future.

“I think there’s a reason we should make it a priority in the UK because we’ve got the skills, the infrastructure, we’ve got a track record when it comes to static offshore wind.

“And look, frankly, some country in the world is going to get ahead on this, and lead and I want that to be the UK which is why we’ve made it a priority, and said today that GB Energy will be investing in it.

“That’s a huge decision because that will ensure that private investors come in behind us and it gives us scope then to also link it with our plan for ports infrastructure. Making sure we get the ports of the future, and the British jobs bonus, so that the jobs go with the technology. So I think it’s great future here we’ve got ambition here for this to be a big significant part of our renewables by 2030.

“This is a bit of evidence as to how serious we are. These are conversations that I want to have now, rather than after the election so that we can hit the ground running.”

Sir Keir was visiting the port alongside shadow environment minister Ed Miliband and shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens.

Windfall tax

Ms Stevens said the money needed to launch GB Energy will be sourced from a 78% windfall tax on oil and gas producers.

She told Times Radio Breakfast that Labour would also be “borrowing to invest, not borrowing to binge” in raising the funds needed for the “exciting, bold and ambitious plan”.

She said the Conservatives had “crashed” the economy with “short-sighted” decisions.

Ms Stevens added: “We’ve had no industrial strategy in this country for 14 years under the Tories.”

The Great British Energy company was described by Ms Stevens as a network of “jobs and infrastructure that will be built to last”.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “Sir Keir Starmer’s energy promise is a race to the bottom that will put Britain’s energy security at risk.

“Despite industry sounding the alarm, Labour are happy to send jobs abroad and sacrifice investment for the sake of ideology.

“Labour have doubled down on their unfunded 2030 spending promise which now experts calculate would cost far more than £28 billion.

“Labour cannot say how they would pay for it because they do not have a plan, taking people back to square one with higher taxes.

“Only Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will stick to the plan, growing the economy whilst reaching net zero in a pragmatic and responsible way that doesn’t saddle families with extra costs.”


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Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
19 days ago

Why don’t they go for tidal energy we in Wales have a gift from God with the second highest tide in the world and it never fails so why don’t you go for that gift that God has given to Wales

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
19 days ago

Why are Labour adopting the tory fetish of naming stuff ‘Great British [insert nsme here]’? Is it to hide the fact that the English government are stealing our natural resources (again)?

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
19 days ago

I see the old ‘world leading/beating class’ chestnut has made another outing, this time to Caergybi/Holyhead.

The politicians of the Untied Kingdom, world leaders in hyperbole, bottom of the class in competence.

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