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Labour’s Green Revolution

November 26, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Time to look at the new Labour Manifesto’s green strategy:







First, a few general points:

1) A £250m Green Transformation Fund is being set up, dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration.

This will operate via a National Investment Bank. Therefore £250m will not necessarily represent the full cost involved, as this money will be lent, and some presumably repaid at some stage.

2) The Treasury’s investment rules will be rewritten to guarantee that every penny spent is compatible with our climate and environmental targets – and that the costs of not acting are fully accounted for too.

In other words, lending will not have to be commercially viable, and McDonnell can effectively make up his own rules up as he goes along.

3) According to the manifesto, “To balance the grid, we will expand power storage and invest in grid enhancements and interconnectors

There is no recognition of the fact that storage or other “grid enhancements” cannot cope with the intermittency of renewables, which means we will end up relying in interconnectors. Any government that sells our energy security short in this way does not deserve to be in power.


Below is the core of the proposals though:


It is not clear where they get their 56% for buildings claim from. Residential only accounts for about a quarter. There will be a small bit extra for public and commercial buildings, but that would get you nowhere 56%

The manifesto gives no costings for any of these proposals. However, Prof Michael Kelly, the former chief scientist at the Department of Communities and Local Government, gave some details in his recent GWPF lecture of insulation trials carried out by the Dept in 2010.

The houses were retrofitted with internal and  external cladding, double glazing and new appliances, costing an average of £85000 per home, but only reduced energy usage by 60%, the equivalent of about £300 pa. Clearly there is no financial logic for such expenditure.

(Interestingly, the Tory manifesto promises insulation and energy improvement measures for 2.2m homes, aimed at poorer people. This is costed at £6.3bn, about £3000 per home. The Telegraph reckons energy bills would be cut by £750 pa, which sounds to me to be utterly nonsensical).

Kelly reckoned the cost of a total UK wide refit could be £2-3 trillion., though this would presumably include the cost of installing heat pumps. Fitting heat pumps to half Britain’s homes would cost in the order of £130 billion.

As for hydrogen, the CCC has already estimated that a national switchover to hydrogen would cost £50-100 billion just for household conversions. That figure does not include the extra cost of building new hydrogen producing plants.

Already it is evident that £250 million won’t go very far!

As for the rest, it is not clear how “they will build new nuclear plants”, as the UK does not have the expertise anymore. Maybe McDonnell will nationalise Hitachi and EDF! Otherwise he needs to tell us how much Labour are prepared to pay in subsidies for new nuclear.

7000 new offshore wind turbines would increase offshore capacity almost ten-fold, assuming they are 10 MW each, the same as being currently planned for the Moray wind farm. Moray’s 950 MW project is estimated to be costing £2.6 billion. On this basis, Labour’s planned new turbines could cost £190 billion. And that’s before the new onshore wind farms and solar farms!

Quite clearly we are talking incomprehensible amounts of money here. Certainly, if we are to take their plans literally, well over a trillion, and all within the space of ten years. The new £250 billion green fund being set up will only be the tip of the iceberg.

And to what benefit? The manifesto admits that spending will not have to be commercially justified. There will be some savings to be offset, such as reduced energy usage. But most of this expenditure will simply replace what we already have, that is an energy network which works perfectly well.

It is inevitable too that such a bureaucratic spending binge will be hugely wasteful.

And, sooner or later, all of that money borrowed will have to be paid back.

  1. November 26, 2019 2:02 pm

    Just more proof that politicians have no idea about science and engineering. They should be kept completely away from anything to do with energy.

    • John Palmer permalink
      November 26, 2019 5:30 pm

      +100 Phillip!
      …and anyone with a PP&E degree should be kept away from any of the other levers of power too.

    • November 26, 2019 7:52 pm

      An interconnector to somewhere in a different time zone might do it. It will have to be a very long cable though 😎

  2. Broadlands permalink
    November 26, 2019 2:06 pm

    And “we” will do all of that because “we” find the climate model dire predictions so compelling that “we” must do it. It would be irresponsible not to respond quickly to an “unequivocal climate emergency” that is facing us. St. Greta has told us “The numbers don’t lie and the science is clear”.

  3. jack broughton permalink
    November 26, 2019 2:25 pm

    The BBC and ITV are stepping up their fear campaigns: loads of elephants being killed because of climate change and Antarctic ice going fast….. they have also just realised that carbon burn is continuing to increase and trying to frighten people with claims of temperatures rising by 4 deg K above LIA values. Maybe they are planning to attack India and China to save us all from a hypothetical ridiculous claimed value – ???

  4. JimW permalink
    November 26, 2019 2:31 pm

    Paul, ZIRP and CB paper for 100 years , in this new MMT world means they can borrow from themselves theses stupendous numbers. Of course efficiency and productivity are different matters.

  5. November 26, 2019 2:52 pm

    Summary Labour’s GreenDream policy
    will :
    – create millions of green jobs
    – and lead to cheaper energy prices
    … cos all those extra man-hours will be paid for by “magic unicorns”

  6. Steve permalink
    November 26, 2019 3:22 pm

    Other missing items from the Abbot /Long Bailey /Rayner accounts.

    100% backup for a two week wind lull midwinter to be supplied by gas and reformed hydrogen with carbon capture, which requires so much energy that we will need as much non renewable gas as at present. Storage for this gas and hydrogen.

    All but one of our current nukes to be replaced in order to supply baseload at 20%.

    Renewal and expansion of electricity and gas grids.

    Renewal of 7000 offshore and onshore wind turbines every 20 years.

    Renewal of HGV and shipping to run on hydrogen.

    Insulation of ground floors of older houses, which requires taking up floor finishes and boards. Ventilation air heat exchangers. Blocking and insulation of chimneys. Draught lobbies. New electricity supply and wiring. New hybrid heat pumps.

    Similar measures for commercial, health, education and industrial buildings.

    Expansion of biofuel crops to be use for electricity and then carbon capture.

    Car charging points to all homes.

    At least they didn’t rely on fusion suddenly becoming practical like Boris the BS.

  7. Ian Cook permalink
    November 26, 2019 3:28 pm

    This really is the ‘what you want to hear’ Labour manifesto. It is pointless talking about costings etc, McDonnell, sorry, Corbyn has no intention of doing any of it. All they want is power and once in, they can do what they are really planning, which is a broad Marxist programme that will definitely include huge expenditure on a new paramilitary force. (Because of the threat from the Far Right, which as we know, is currently the greatest threat to the UK!!!)

  8. November 26, 2019 3:51 pm

    Every prospective MP should be obliged to read Professor Michael Kelly’s paper entitled ‘Energy Utopias and Engineering Reality’ as it exposes all political parties, their complete lack of research, and the nonsense published in their manifestos on the issue of energy?

  9. Michael Adams permalink
    November 26, 2019 4:46 pm

    I’ve been canvassing and what is clear is that Corbyn is the Tories greatest asset. No chance of this plan being brought in. I reckon if the Leave/Remain question wasn’t an issue the Tories would have a 100 seat majority.. They won’t get that but its important to get everyone out on election day to keep the lunacy level to acceptable levels.

  10. Dave Ward permalink
    November 26, 2019 5:51 pm

    “The fact that storage or other “grid enhancements” cannot cope with the intermittency of renewables, which means we will end up relying on interconnectors”

    Seeing as how they are normally running at full tilt from Europe to us, I don’t see how they could cover for the intermittency of renewables?

    • Steve permalink
      November 26, 2019 6:34 pm

      When Micron and his green ladies are confronted with the obvious by EDF and all their old nukes are about to be closed, what’s the betting that they suddenly come up with a simpler practical nuke like all the others, approve it in no time and build them all over France for a quarter of the cost of Hinkley.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 26, 2019 7:25 pm

        They could just get the design they have in S Korea…. After all, it works which is more than can be said for Flamanville and probably doesn’t have forged materials certifications.

  11. Athelstan. permalink
    November 26, 2019 5:58 pm

    It is truly frightening, it’s like selling up, betting the house and putting all your worldly goods on a truck and giving the keys to a very myopic driver with one good arm and who’s never had a licence.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    November 26, 2019 6:21 pm

    Isn’t that 250bn? Not that that would be anywhere near enough for a project that would cost more on the order of £10 trillion.

  13. Douglas Brodie permalink
    November 26, 2019 6:35 pm

    It’s hard to believe that politicians can be so detached from reality. They shut their eyes to the unavoidable fact that the national grid is already prone to being overcome by too much non-synchronous wind, solar and interconnector power on windy, sunny days of low demand, never mind after their irresponsible plans to expand these problematic supplies many times over.

    It has not yet dawned on the gullible climate change zealots who hang on every pronouncement from the UN IPCC high priests of climate change that their man-made global warming crusade was condemned to irrelevance by the UN IPCC itself when it issued its 1.5ºC Special Report over a year ago.

    The UN IPCC totally lost the plot as a direct result of its own flawed climate pseudo-science in calling for mind-bogglingly impossible global emissions cuts within farcically impossible timescales, namely that “global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.”

    So far the complicit mainstream media and establishment chattering classes have simply ignored the show-stopping implications of these impossible targets. All over the news today (in advance of the COP25 climate summit next week) we hear a new version of this self-harming refrain, namely that countries need to reduce their emissions (in practice energy consumption) by 8% a year for the next 10 years. They are all making utter fools of themselves.

  14. Peter F Gill permalink
    November 26, 2019 7:24 pm

    These things only happen in the imagination of those without any knowledge of science, engineering and the processes involved necessary to get large energy schemes going. As regards lead times 2030 is in effect tomorrow. So apart from the unnecessary transformation to so-called green energy it is in any case impossible in the timescale envisaged by its main proponents. We have ducks at the bottom of our garden that quack more sense.

    Thanks to the politicians the Grenfell inquiry is unlikely to conclude that in recognition of the fact that circa 50% of energy conversion happens in buildings has been the driver for some time now in insulating them as a main objective with anything to do with safety taking a lower place. Asking who and how is going to pay for the removal of dangerously combustible cladding before considering the installation of new safe cladding may be addressed at any of the three traditional parties as they are all for the push to decarbonisation. This of course won’t happen either.

  15. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    November 26, 2019 7:59 pm

    Long-term economic suicide:

    Click to access shaka-eroi.pdf

  16. Ian Wilson permalink
    November 26, 2019 8:26 pm

    Regrettably all the parties seem to be outdoing each other in the folly of their energy policies. The Conservatives are hell-bent on ‘zero carbon’ and banning fracking. Disturbingly, newspaper reports suggest girlfriend Carrie Symons is behind the Party’s ‘green’ agenda, a deja vu from the Cameron era when his Greenpeace activist wife pulled the strings including the deplorable sacking of Owen Paterson for standing up to the Green Mafia.

  17. swan101 permalink
    November 26, 2019 9:20 pm

    Reblogged this on ECO-ENERGY DATABASE and commented:

  18. November 27, 2019 2:41 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  19. HotScot permalink
    November 27, 2019 8:36 am

    I costed my 1850’s, solid masonry, 3 bedroom, end terrace cottage for installing internal insulation, a Ground Source Heat pump, whole house ventilation (vital if a house is sealed up as tight as a tick) and double glazing.

    Excluding the impossibility of actually installing whole house ventilation, the cost came to just short of £100,000. Nor did it allow for the upheaval of the entire house by ripping out the kitchen, which would have to be renewed, and fitted wardrobes, staircase, etc. to accomplish a proper job.

    Nor am I a professor in anything, I just used my fingers and toes to do some simple Arithmetic.

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