Energy pledges of Tory, Labour parties in UK election
- Conservative Party promises to lower energy costs while Labour Party prioritizes public representation in energy sector

The U.K.'s Conservative Party pledges to lower energy costs while the Labour Party promises to increase public representation in the energy sector ahead of Thursday's early general elections.

According to the party manifesto released in the weeks before the election, the Conservative Party said they would deliver "competitive and affordable energy costs following a new independent review into the cost of energy."

The party headed by Theresa May said they would commission an independent review into the cost of energy and consider how the U.K. energy costs can be lowered. The party aims to ensure reliable energy supplies in parallel with the country meeting its 2050 carbon reduction objective of reducing emissions by 80 percent.

"Our ambition is that the U.K. should have the lowest energy costs in Europe," May's party said.

For businesses and companies, an industrial energy efficiency scheme would be established to help large companies implement measures to cut their energy use and bills.

In terms of increasing efficiency in homes and businesses, the Conservative Party vows to upgrade all fuel-poor homes by 2030, by increasing efficiency measures in homes. Fuel-poor homes are categorized as lower income homes whose occupants are unable to heat the homes at reasonable costs.

The Conservative Party also promised to "continue to take a lead in global action against climate change."

The current ruling party supports renewable and clean energy to help reduce emissions.

"We want to see a diverse range of sources for Britain's energy production, because a diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation, and also to ensure that we are getting the right generation in the right place," the party said.

May said they would continue to support offshore wind in Scotland and explore ways to harness Welsh natural resources for the generation of power.

Research and development are also high on the party's agenda. "We will spend more on research and development, to turn brilliant discoveries into practical products and transform the world's industries – such as the batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles."

They target the U.K. leading the world in electric vehicle technology and use and want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050.

The Conservative Party said they would invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve the goal of increasing low carbon transportation on roads.

Smart grids will make the most efficient use of the country's electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles, according to the party.

"We will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020, giving people control over their energy bills that they have not had before," May said in the manifesto.

On the topic of fossil fuels, May said, "the oil and gas sector is transforming. We will ensure that the sector continues to play a critical role in our economy and domestic energy supply, supporting further investment in the U.K.’s natural resources."

Furthermore, the Conservative Party is a supporter of shale. They believe shale energy has the potential to balance the economy, reduce carbon emissions, lower prices for consumers and reduce foreign energy imports.

Committed to developing the shale industry in the U.K., the Conservative Party said they would ensure that a greater percentage of the tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host the extraction sites. They also promise to allow payments to be made directly to local people themselves, while a significant share of the remaining tax revenues would be invested for the benefit of the country at large.

The party will set up a new Shale Environmental Regulator, "which will provide clear governance and accountability, become a source of expertise, and allow decisions to be made fairly but swiftly."

Hydraulic fracking of shale involves pressurized water and chemicals to extract shale oil and gas underground and is often used in combination with horizontal drilling. Opponents of the practice cite environmental concerns as reasons to stop the controversial technique.

- Nationalization high on Labour Party's agenda

The Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn is supporting the creation of publicly owned, locally accountable energy companies and co-operatives to rival existing private energy suppliers, with at least one in every region.

Corbyn said they would transition to a publicly owned, decentralized energy system.

The opposition party will legislate to permit publicly owned local companies to purchase the regional grid infrastructure and to ensure that national and regional grid infrastructure is brought into public ownership over time.

As part of the Brexit negotiations, Labour will prioritize maintaining access to the internal energy market, Corbyn said.

"Labour will also retain access to Euratom [European Atomic Energy Community] to allow continued trade of fissile material, with access and collaboration over research vital to our nuclear industry," the party said.

Under Labour rule, nuclear will continue to be part of the U.K.' energy supply, according to the manifesto.

"We will support further nuclear projects and protect nuclear workers' jobs and pensions," the party said.

The party will work towards the goal of providing 60 percent of the U.K.'s energy and 40 percent of U.K. heat from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030 and take energy back into public ownership to deliver renewable energy.

As part of their commitment to renewable and clean energy, Labour will continue to support "renewable energy projects, including tidal lagoons, which can help create manufacturing and energy jobs as well as contributing to climate change commitments."

Labour pledged to work hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.

Upon election, the party said they would introduce an immediate emergency price cap to ensure that the average dual fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year, while the country transitions to a fairer system for bill payers.

Labour will insulate four million homes as an infrastructure priority to cut emissions, improve health, save on bills and reduce fuel poverty and winter deaths. To improve efficiency in buildings and reduce energy loss, homeowners will be offered interest-free loans to improve their property and for renters, regulations would be introduced to encourage landlords to take up efficiency measures.

The party also vowed to transform energy systems by investing in new, state-of-the-art, low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production.

Emerging technologies such as carbon capture and storage will be a priority for the party, which will help to smooth the transition to cleaner fuels.

New technologies such as building zero carbon homes will also be studied and consultations will be held on the topic under the Labour government.

Similar to the Conservative's aim "Labour will position the U.K. at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra low emission vehicles, supporting the creation of clean modes of transport through investment in low emission vehicles," the party said.

If elected, Labour in contrast to the Conservatives said they would ban fracking because "it would lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels."

Referring to North Sea oil and gas, Labour said they would "provide a strategy focused on protecting vital North Sea assets, and the jobs and skills that depend on them."

Latest polls suggest the election is too close to call with only a point between May's lead against Corbyn. In the latest general elections in 2015, Conservatives gained 36.9 percent while Labour earned 30.4 percent.

By Zeynep Beyza Kilic

Anadolu Agency




07 Jun,2017