Writing for the New Statesman, Shadow chancellor Ed Balls claimed a Labour government would ensure that renewable energy became a national priority.
He said this was vital in order to guarantee the country’s energy security and bring down the cost of energy bills.
Climate change and ‘energy insecurity’
“Nobody seriously questions that in the coming decades all countries will have to generate much more energy using renewable sources. The alternative is devastating climate change, ever-rising prices and energy insecurity,” he said.
Despite the Conservatives vowing to be the greenest government ever when campaigning for election, the shadow chancellor argues that the Coalition has instead taken the “easy way out” as far as committing to carbon reduction. Balls says this is highlighted by the current administration’s reluctance to agree to a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill.
“By raising the prospect of a new ‘dash to gas’ instead of renewables, by shackling the Green Investment Bank, and by failing to implement the scale and certainty of policy needed to effectively de-risk investment, the government has actively undermined business plans to create jobs and growth,” he wrote.
Action needed now
Balls called on the government to commit to a 2030 energy decarbonisation target now – something he said Labour would pursue if victorious in the 2015 general election. Although by that time the shadow chancellor says it may be too late for the UK to position itself as a green energy leader.
“Our vision is for a race to the top – to secure a world-leading position for British businesses in helping the world meet the low carbon challenge – and in doing so create prosperity and jobs for people in this country,” he added.
Labour leader Ed Miliband, shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint and Balls have all vowed to make renewable energy a national priority if their party is victorious in the next election. They say this will give more businesses the confidence to invest in the UK and ultimately ensure customers get a fair deal.