UK opposition party promises faster energy grid connections

The UK’s opposition Labour Party has pledged to “rewire Britain” and unlock £200 billion (€230 billion) of private investment to build the clean energy grid the country needs.

The UK’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, said a future Labour government would deliver a better electricity grid (pic credit: Nicola Tree/Getty Images)

Unveiling the plan at its party conference in Liverpool on 9 October, Labour vowed “to facilitate the largest upgrade to national transmission infrastructure in a generation” if elected to power in the UK’s next general election, expected in 2024.

Labour has vowed to massively increase Britain’s wind energy capacity, with shadow energy and net zero secretary, Ed Miliband, saying it will double onshore wind and quadruple offshore wind.

“Talk to any business and they will tell you that the queue for grid connections is growing out of control, with more than £200 billion worth of privately-funded projects now stuck,” said Rachel Reeves, shadow chancellor.

New energy projects including wind farms are being forced to wait up to 15 years to connect to the grid, leaving them “stuck in limbo”, Reeves said, leading to a “farcical situation” in which taxpayers are paying renewable developers to turn off their energy generation because the grid cannot cope. 

She promised that a Labour government would “turbocharge our growth” by speeding up the grid. This would bring cheaper and cleaner power, as well as energy security and jobs, “to every corner of the country”, she said.

A new state-owned energy company, GB Energy, would coordinate the transmission operators to launch a super-tender to procure the grid supply chain that Britain needs. Labour would also invest in local authorities’ planning capacity to speed up decisions, Reeves added.