Ed Miliband’s clutch of four national Energy Policy Statements, announced today, mark another key stage in our low carbon energy strategy. It’ll help deliver up to 500,000 green energy jobs by 2020 set out in the Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy last July. This includes opportunities in the UK and from growing markets across Europe and globally.
Those calling for a smaller State and Budget cutbacks might heed this comment from the independent Committee on Climate Change in October 2009:
There is an approach to power generation that says emissions from the sector are capped and that we can entirely rely on the market to determine the appropriate path to decarbonisation. This is not, however, an approach that the Committee accepts. Whilst inclusion of the power sector in the EU ETS will deliver the emissions cuts required in the sector to 2020, it will not automatically bring forward the low-carbon investment to deliver required emissions cuts in the 2020s and beyond.
With 2,469,000 out of work in October, and likely to keep rising into 2010, obviously, we’ll only generate green energy jobs through active commitments from Government, industry and trade unions. This includes new public investment in renewables, CCS and nuclear R&D announced since Budget 2009.
And the statement will help avoid the “power cuts in 2017”, trailed by media doomsayers this morning. Because Miliband’s statements are consistent with the new carbon budgets set by Lord Turner’s Committee. To decarbonise our electricity supply by 2030, the Committee called for this by 2020: 23 Gigawatts of new wind power; 4 new clean coal plants with carbon capture and storage; 3 new nuclear power stations; and 4 Gigawatts of non-wind renewable energy by 2020. Each of the new nuclear stations will generate 9,000 jobs. Four full-size clean coal projects will provide at least new 30,000 jobs by 2020.
As Brendan Barber commented today:
The many thousands of skilled workers who have been made redundant in recent months will now get the chance to move across into new green jobs. There is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that the right training framework is in place to generate the necessary skills, and the TUC looks forward to working with the Government on this.
As a result the UK will not only have a balanced low carbon energy system, its energy production will be much less damaging to the environment, and a new highly skilled workforce will emerge, ensuring the UK becomes a key player in the new global low carbon economy.