Making Britain a ‘clean energy superpower’ will require immediate action during the first 100 days of government. Our paper ‘Accelerating Clean British Power’ sets out advice on the first actions required to put the country on course to deliver the new government’s vital clean power mission.

Labour setting clean power as one of the central five missions of the new government is a genuinely exciting moment for everyone involved in the sector, signalling a shift to a new paradigm where the power of the state is harnessed in partnership with the private sector to transform our energy system.

A new government has a period where it can use its democratic mandate to drive radical change before it gets bogged down grappling with the inevitable events that beset every administration. We have sent the Secretary of State our agenda for using that golden period to accelerate clean British power.

Labour has already signalled that new cross-governmental delivery mechanisms or ‘mission boards’ will be set up. That board obviously needs a clear plan it’s working to and for key public institutions like Ofgem and the National Energy System Operator to have clear remits in line with the mission. The government will need to define what ‘clean power by 2030’ means. It’s common ground that we’re going to keep gas power stations as an energy security reserve for some time to come. We suggest defining the target in terms of the carbon intensity of the power grid – set at a level that is in line with our carbon budgets.

Getting to the crunchy policy decisions, sitting on the Secretary of State’s desk will be the budget for Contracts for Difference Auction Round 6. The current budget might buy around 3 GW of offshore wind – far short of what is needed to meet our targets. Doubling that would send a strong signal to industry that the government is serious and would be a good start to getting together with industry to address supply chain challenges – and opportunities.

Equally important to attracting investment is to remove uncertainties. Radical reform of the wholesale market into ‘zones’ is clearly not compatible with accelerating clean power. This should be quickly dropped and the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements reform process relaunched as an accelerated programme of progressive reform of our current national market. Look out for our paper setting out that agenda, which will be published on Thursday 11 July.

Planning reform has featured in every Starmer and Reeves speech over the past year and already they have committed to dropping the effective ban on onshore wind in England. An immediate funding boost to recruit 1,000 new planning officers into local authorities would be a great way to keep up the momentum. And, while grid reform is already under way, there are things a new government could do, such as a new strategic approach to procurement – and learning the lessons from transmission for the investment in distribution grids that we’ll need for EV charging and heat pumps.

All of this needs a ‘just transition’ lens that is about bringing people along with this transformation. The new National Wealth Fund should be developing our ports and supporting the shift of workers from the oil and gas industry. All clean power developments should be engaging with their local communities and delivering high levels of local benefit – including the opportunity to own a stake in projects.

As Patrick Vallance said recently, this is the time to ‘roll up our sleeves and give it everything we have got’.

 

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