Clean power is good for jobs, bills – and Earth

Share
Related Topics

In the next decade, a quarter of Britain's power supply will be switched off for good. This week MPs will vote on the Government's Energy Bill, which will determine what we replace it with. To tackle soaring energy bills, improve energy security and stop dangerous climate change, we must decarbonise the power sector by 2030.

For all the anti-renewables scare stories, investment in clean energy only accounts for a small fraction of consumers' bills. The biggest driver of soaring energy bills is rising global gas prices, predicted to increase even further, just when the cost of clean energy, such as solar panels and wind turbines, should fall. Breaking Britain's dependence on fossil fuels, cleaning up our power supply and investing in energy efficiency would lead to lower, not higher, bills.

As reserves in the North Sea have depleted, after decades of exporting energy Britain now relies on imports, leaving our energy security in the hands of other countries. If it can be extracted safely and sustainably, shale gas may help. But no one knows how much is recoverable or at what cost. New nuclear power will help create a more balanced, secure and low-carbon energy mix, too. But the best way of improving our energy security is to take advantage of the natural energy sources within our own country. This is the windiest country in Europe, and Britain really can rule the waves. But businesses will only invest in converting the sun, wind and waves into energy if they see the Government back decarbonisation.

We know that carbon dioxide is the principal man-made greenhouse gas responsible for the planet's rising temperature. In May, for the first time in history, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the 400 parts per million threshold. Unless we reduce this figure, we face chaotic weather, rising sea levels, flooded homes, failing harvests and drought. If we can't decarbonise the power sector, we can't reduce the country's carbon footprint.

With the economy flat-lining, unemployment rising and living standards squeezed, climate change might not be everyone's top concern. But decarbonising power would yield huge economic benefits. New industries. New companies. New jobs. But as today's figures on page 2 show, under David Cameron, investment in vital new energy infrastructure has collapsed. A government committed to cleaning up our power would give businesses confidence to invest in vital new schemes such as carbon capture and storage.

To rebuild our power supply could cost £200bn. It is a once-in-a-generation challenge, but also opportunity, for Britain. Hull is the hardest place is the country to find a job, with 15,000 out of work. Siemens wants to build a new, £80m wind-turbine factory, creating thousands of jobs. But it won't until the Government commits to decarbonisation. For Hull's jobless, and thousands more like them around the country, this is a chance we cannot afford to miss.

Caroline Flint is Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

Learning Support Assistants-Nantwich area

£8 - £9 per hour: Randstad Education Chester: We are currently recruiting for ...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Prime Minister’s Questions: Yah Miliband versus Boo Cameron

John Rentoul
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella  

Zoella is a great role model - she changed my life

Vicky Chandler
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London