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Labour’s Great British Energy could open up investment opportunities, if deployed effectively

Posted: 24/06/2024

A lot of what Labour and the Conservatives promise regarding energy in their manifestos appears to build on the foundations laid by the Energy Act 2023. Labour’s pledge to create Great British Energy seems to extend the remit of the National Future Systems Operator, created by the act, whose purpose is to coordinate the development of energy systems. 

Labour’s initiative could open many opportunities for investment, which is a real positive for clients who work in renewables. If the government is one of the parties investing, this will demonstrate a welcome commitment to growth in this area and provide some much needed investor confidence. As always, success will depend on how projects are implemented, and potential future litigation could follow.

There are positives in all parties’ manifestos for the growth of renewable energy, apart from in Reform’s manifesto. If Reform wins more seats in parliament, they could challenge future legislation aimed at promoting renewables.

Labour and the Conservatives both look to increase renewables. They take a similar view on nuclear and hydrogen energy, that both need to be investigated and given necessary support for growth, without being very specific. Clients will be interested in what is being promised, but fundamentally it is clear there will be no significant difference between the two. While both parties talk about the need to upgrade the UK’s energy infrastructure and reliance on overground pylons, there is no detail about how this challenging objective can be achieved.

The two main parties take contrasting approaches to oil and gas production. While the Conservatives will continue to grant new licences, Labour will allow current licences to continue, awarding no new ones. A challenge here could be energy security. Labour has said it will keep gas plants online for security of supply, but where will gas come from in years to come?

There are also questions here for shipping clients. While there is much talk about alternative aviation fuels, there is little mention of support for alternative fuels in shipping. All proposals provide a lot for clients to think about and there will clearly be a period of uncertainty as policies come into play. 

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