Labour’s ‘Great British Energy’ Company likely to be a nuclear turkey

My ears perked up in eager anticipation when Keir Starmer, in his address to Labour’s Conference,  started talking about setting up a state-backed renewable energy development company. But I sighed with despair when it became clearer that this would be an investment conduit for what would be failing, black hole-type, nuclear projects.

Unless it is ring-fenced for renewable energy, and nuclear kept out, this will sink like a stone. If it is to be a vehicle for investing in new nuclear power plant, small or large, it will be like attaching a ship anchor to a rowing boat. It will sink. Quite fast in fact.

According to Guardian correspondent Jessica Elgot ‘investments might be in eg. conventional nuclear or onshore wind but more likely in small reactors or new tidal technologies’.

Alas, the whole thing now sounds like an impractical soundbite meant to satisfy a committee on which sits Labour’s prime pro-nuclear donor, the GMB.

The Green Investment Bank, set up in 2012, was a firmer idea, one of the few original green ideas to emerge from the Cameron government. Alas this was sold off in 2017 in yet another selling-off-the- silver privatisation spree five years later.

Now, the target for 100 per cent green electricity (set by Labour) by 2030 is a good slogan, which is even achievable. This has to be done through renewables since quite possibly even Hinkley C might not even be generating by that time!

It’s actually a great pity that this is being spoiled by the nuclear-damned notion of this ‘Great British Energy’ Company. I’m sorry Keir, I’d really like to be impressed by this, but it is a loser, certainly in the way it is being spun. When will politicians get it into their heads that new nuclear investment won’t and can’t make money? Or maybe it’s just the soundbite that counts and they just don’t care that it doesn’t make sense?

by David Toke

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