Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, delivered her keynote speech to Labour Party Conference today. She began her speech by describing energy as “the backbone of our economy” and the transition to clean energy as “one of the biggest challenges this country has ever faced.” She went on to reference the Paris Summit in December, describing its potential to give an “absolutely transformational signal to investors and businesses around the world that the age of polluting energy is over, and that the transition to a new, clean, energy model is inevitable, irreversible, universal.”
Lisa also praised the actions of China to take steps to reduce dirty coal and invest in renewable energy, and the actions of the Indian government to pioneer clean tech innovation using solar energy. She said that the pursuit of social justice is the guiding principle of Labour’s energy plan. She argued that this would be achieved by minimising the costs of going green, sharing those costs fairly, and capturing the industrial benefits to improve the lives of working people. She then referenced the CBI who warned earlier this month that “from the roll back of renewables to the mixed messages on energy efficiency, these changes send a worrying signal about the UK as a place for low-carbon investment.”
Setting out Labour’s plans for energy, she said that she wants to democratise energy, and that community-based energy companies and cooperatives could be a new powerhouse with the right support. She added that Labour in local government is already leading the way, bypassing the big six entirely. Labour leaders in Nottingham have created their own city energy company to cut bills and go green, Oldham is spearheading collective switching schemes, and Cardiff is rolling out cutting-edge smart technologies to cut demand because “the cheapest power is the power that isn’t used”. She added that the new frontbench are determined to work with other towns and cities to push for a clean energy boom in our cities.
There were no references to fracking in the speech.