The Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to renationalise the UK’s transmission and distribution networks in a bid to support the energy transition.
The political party, which is hosting its party conference in Liverpool this week, this morning published a new document summarising much of its ongoing environment policy.
Dubbed ‘The Green Transformation’, the document has been signed off by both Rebecca Long-Bailey and Sue Hayman, Labour’s shadow energy and environment secretaries respectively, and is described as a moving position paper which the party will revise as “new science, new technologies and new thinking emerges”.
One of Labour’s central pledges on energy is to bring distribution and transmission networks back into public ownership, a measure which the party says would be followed by upgrades and investment in flexible networks “capable of supporting a transition to decentralised renewable energy”.
“This means making more use of local, micro grids and of batteries to store and balance fluctuating renewable energy, and providing the necessary investment to connect renewable energy sources to the grid,” the document reads.
But it’s not the first time Labour has spoken of its desire to renationalise energy networks. In the build-up to last year’s snap General Election, the party’s manifesto included pledges to nationalise the networks In order to overhaul the country’s “outdated, expensive and polluting energy system”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also been a critic of network companies in the past, branding them “even worse” than energy suppliers and accusing them of “jacking up prices”
“Grid operators are notorious for overcharging and causing delays in connecting renewables because they have no incentive to make it easy for clean, community generators to connect to the grid, or to encourage community grid initiatives that might end up undermining their profits,” he said during a speech in February this year, which prompted a strong retort from the Energy Networks Association at the time.