Make Scotland a clean energy super power

Anas Sarwar and Keir Starmer walking in front of the St Fergus Gas Terminal in Peterhead

How Labour will make Scotland a clean energy superpower:

  • Headquarter GB Energy in Scotland to cut bills and create jobs
  • Energy security to end our exposure to dictators like Putin
  • 69,000 new high-quality jobs in Scotland’s clean energy industries
  • Investment in Scotland’s clean energy potential
  • Warmer homes to slash fuel poverty

The climate and nature crisis is the greatest long- term global challenge that we face. The clean energy transition represents a huge opportunity to generate growth, tackle the cost-of-living crisis and give Scotland and the UK energy security once again. That is why clean energy by 2030 is Labour’s second mission.

The Conservatives have failed to grasp opportunities in this area for two related reasons. First, because they simply do not accept that economic growth, energy security, lower bills, and addressing climate change can be complementary. Second, because they are ideologically opposed to using the role of the state, including public investment, to guarantee that they are.

The damage done by 14 years of chaotic ‘sticking plaster’ policies was exposed when Putin invaded Ukraine. The cost of fossil fuel energy on the international market rocketed. The Conservatives’ neglect of the UK’s energy infrastructure – and the SNP’s failure to deliver on its own commitment to a public energy company or to improve the energy efficiency of homes – landed Scottish families with among the highest energy bills in Europe. That is just one way we are paying the price. While countries around the world are racing ahead to claim the jobs and wealth that the transition offers, Scotland is losing out.

But it is not too late. Scotland has tremendous untapped advantages: our long coast-line, high winds, shallow waters, universities, and skilled offshore workforce combined with our extensive technological and engineering capabilities developed in the North Sea. With a serious industrial strategy and a genuine partnership between the public and private sectors, Labour is determined that we can still make Scotland and the UK a clean energy superpower.

Labour will take decisive action to seize this economic opportunity. We will shape markets and use public investment to crowd in private funding. At the heart of our approach will be our Green Prosperity Plan where, in partnership with business through our National Wealth Fund, we will invest in the industries of the future. Our plans to harness clean power and invest in home insulation upgrades will deliver the lower bills, good jobs, energy security, and climate leadership Scotland needs.

Labour will provide leadership at home so we can influence others to ensure every country plays their part in meeting our collective obligations to future generations.

Labour will also tackle the nature emergency, where Scotland’s peatlands, forests and natural habitat play an essential role. We will improve access to nature, promote biodiversity, and protect our landscapes and wildlife.

Labour understands the route ahead – we have been clear that this transition presents an opportunity to create good jobs, with no community left behind, and well-paying jobs in existing energy industries. The Conservatives and SNP propose an alternative course which denies reality, delays action and will increase costs for Scotland with greater insecurity and the continuation of jobs and supply chains being offshored. Communities in Scotland are still scarred by the damage the Conservatives did in the 1970s and 1980s with this same chaotic approach. Labour is setting out a different choice, with a plan that will secure the energy jobs of the future in communities across the country.

Families and businesses will have lower bills for good, from a zero-carbon electricity system. We have chosen this mission not because it is easy, but because working people can never again be left vulnerable to dictators like Putin.

To deliver our clean power mission, Labour will work with the private sector to double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030. We will invest in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and marine energy, and ensure we have the long-term energy storage our country needs. A new energy act will establish the framework for Labour’s energy and climate policies.

Labour will end a decade of dithering that has seen the Conservatives duck decisions on nuclear power, while the SNP opposes its development in Scotland completely. Nuclear power currently provides up to 23 per cent of the electricity consumed in Scotland and will need to remain part of our energy mix if we are to achieve energy security and clean power in Scotland. A UK Labour government will ensure the long-term security of the sector UK-wide, extending the lifetime of existing plants. New nuclear power stations in England and Small Modular Reactors will play an important role in helping the UK achieve clean power while securing thousands of good, skilled jobs. Scottish Labour believes Scotland should not miss out on the economic opportunity that nuclear energy offers.

UK Labour will maintain a strategic reserve of gas power stations to guarantee security of supply. We will ensure a phased and responsible transition in the North Sea that recognises the proud history of our offshore industry and the brilliance of its workforce, particularly in Scotland and the North East of England, and the ongoing role of oil and gas in our energy mix.

We will embrace the future of energy production and storage which will make use of existing offshore infrastructure and the skills of our offshore workforce. Labour will not revoke existing licences and we will partner with business and workers to manage our existing fields for the entirety of their lifespan. Crucially, oil and gas production in the North Sea will be with us for decades to come. The North Sea will be managed in a way that does not jeopardise jobs and our offshore workers will lead the world in the industries of the future.

A UK Labour government will not issue new licences to explore new fields because they will not take a penny off bills, cannot make us energy secure, and will only accelerate the worsening climate crisis. In addition, UK Labour will not grant new coal licences and will ban fracking for good.

To support investment in this plan, Labour will close the loopholes in the windfall tax on oil and gas companies. Companies have benefitted from enormous profits not because of their ingenuity or investment, but because of an energy shock which raised prices for families. Labour will therefore extend the sunset clause in the Energy Profits Levy until the end of the next UK parliament. To deliver greater fairness for households struggling with the cost of living, a UK Labour government will also increase the rate of the levy by three percentage points, as well as removing the unjustifiably generous investment allowances. We will also retain the Energy Security Investment Mechanism.

To drive forward investment in clean, home-grown energy production, Labour will create a new publicly-owned company, GB Energy. It will be owned by the taxpayer and deliver power back to the public.

GB Energy will partner with industry and trade unions to deliver clean power by co-investing in leading technologies; will help support capital-intensive projects; and will deploy local energy production to benefit communities across the country. To support this, Labour will capitalise GB Energy with £8.3 billion over the next parliament.

The company will create jobs and build supply chains in every corner of the UK. Scotland will be the powerhouse of our clean energy mission, with GB Energy headquartered here so it can harness the expertise and experience of Scotland’s world-renowned energy industry.

Local power generation is an essential part of the energy mix and reduces pressures on the transmission grid. UK Labour will deploy more distributed production capacity through a Local Power Plan. GB Energy will partner with energy companies, local authorities, and co-operatives to install thousands of clean power projects, through a combination of onshore wind, solar, and hydropower projects. Communities across the country will be invited to come forward with projects, and Labour will work with local leaders and the Scottish Government to ensure local people in Scotland benefit directly from this energy production.

Under the Conservatives, the broken energy market has let consumers down. They have allowed scandalous abuses on their watch, including poor customer service, companies going to the wall with the costs falling on billpayers, and the mass forced installation of pre-payment meters.

Labour will ensure a much tougher system of regulation that puts consumers first and attracts the investment needed to cut bills. Too much of the burden of the bill is on standing charges and we will work with the UK regulator to reduce them. We will strengthen the regulator to ensure it can hold companies to account for wrongdoing, require higher standards of performance, and ensure there is automatic customer compensation for failure.

The national grid has become the single biggest obstacle to the deployment of cheap, clean power generation and the electrification of industry. With grid connection dates not being offered until the late 2030s, important business and infrastructure investment is being stalled or lost overseas. Labour will work with industry to upgrade the UK’s national transmission infrastructure and rewire the country.

As we invest in Scotland’s energy potential, Labour is determined that we will create new high-quality jobs, working with business and trade unions, as we manage the transition. We will rebuild supply chains at home. And, as the first major economy to transition to a clean-energy system, we will export the technologies of the future.

UK Labour’s National Wealth Fund will directly invest in ports, hydrogen and industrial clusters in every corner of the country. This will support port investment in Scotland and create a decarbonisation hub at Grangemouth. UK Labour will also secure the future of the UK’s automotive and steel industries.

A UK Labour government will also deliver a British Jobs Bonus, allocating up to £500 million per year from 2026, to incentivise clean energy developers to offer good jobs, terms and conditions, and to build their manufacturing supply chains in industrial heartlands, coastal areas, and energy communities across the UK – including in Scotland.

UK Labour will end the injustice of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. We will review the unfair surplus arrangements and transfer the Investment Reserve Fund back to members, so that the mineworkers who powered our country receive a fairer pension.

The energy shock of recent years has highlighted the urgent importance of improving energy efficiency in homes. A UK Labour government will invest an extra £6.6 billion over the next UK parliament, doubling the existing planned government investment, to upgrade homes and cut bills for families.

The Warm Homes Plan will offer grants and low interest loans to support investment in insulation and other improvements such as solar panels, batteries and low carbon heating to cut bills. Nobody will be forced to change their boiler as a result of our plans, and UK Labour will also work with the private sector, including banks and building societies, to provide further private finance to accelerate home upgrades and low carbon heating.

Housing is devolved, so a UK Labour government will seek to partner with the Scottish Government in the roll out of the plan to ensure Scottish households benefit and that we improve the energy efficiency of hundreds of thousands of Scottish homes. A UK Labour government will save families hundreds of pounds, slash fuel poverty and get us back on track to meet our climate targets. Our plan will mean 16,000 good skilled jobs for tradespeople in every part of Scotland.

Anas Sarwar and two people standing in a field in front of a wind turbine

Scottish industry is held back by high electricity costs, which have often made investing here uncompetitive. Labour’s clean energy mission will drive down those bills, making Scottish businesses internationally competitive while our National Wealth Fund supports the most energy intensive sectors to decarbonise.

Labour supports the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism in the UK. This will protect industries as we decarbonise, prevent countries from dumping lower-quality goods into our markets, and support the UK to meet our climate objectives.

Labour will ensure the institutional framework for policy making reflects our commitments to reach net zero and meet our carbon budgets. The Conservatives’ decision to prevent the Bank of England giving due consideration to climate change in its mandates will be reversed.

The UK’s world-leading financial services industry has a major role to play in mobilising trillions of pounds in private capital to address the greatest long-term challenge of our age. Labour will make the UK, including Scotland, the green finance capital of the world, mandating UK-regulated financial institutions – including banks, asset managers, pension funds, and insurers – and FTSE 100 companies to develop and implement credible transition plans that align with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

Preparing for the future not only means tackling the climate and nature emergencies, but also adapting to the changes we will see in our environment. Scotland has been left exposed by poor risk management, inadequate infrastructure, and a disjointed approach across government and regulators. Without action, flooding and coastal erosion will pose greater risks to lives, livelihoods and people’s wellbeing.

Scottish Labour believes we need to see improvements in resilience and preparation with closer collaboration between the UK and Scottish governments, working closely with local authorities, local communities, and emergency services, including Fire and Rescue.

The climate crisis has also accelerated the nature crisis. Responsibility for protecting Scotland’s remarkable natural environment sits with the Scottish government, and there is much more that could and should be done to protect it for future generations. Scottish Labour has pledged to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan for our land, air, and sea. Scotland’s environment is a critical cornerstone of cultural, health and economic wellbeing in Scotland, but is also a potential great natural resource in the transition to net zero. Labour will provide climate leadership and renew our natural heritage in partnership with civil society, local communities and business.

Aerial view of Portobello Beach in Edinburgh

Scotland’s coasts, rivers, and lochs are being polluted by huge rises in sewage dumping, with serious damage being done to people’s health, our countryside, and our tourism industry. Although Scotland has a publicly-owned water company, there is an alarming lack of monitoring of Scottish waterways. Improvements are required to Scotland’s water infrastructure so it can cope with the volumes of sewage and storms we are now experiencing.

Scottish Labour believes there must also be stronger regulations on Scottish Water to ensure it is delivering for the people of Scotland. Despite storing up high levels of cash reserves, Scottish Water sought to hike bills above inflation amid the cost-of-living crisis, while handing out huge bonuses to directors. Scottish Labour is clear that this recklessness with public finances must end and all available resources must be directed to improving Scotland’s waterways.

Food security is a national security issue. Agriculture policy is devolved, and Scottish Labour wants to champion Scottish farming while protecting the environment. We believe that we need to use public procurement to support local food producers, increasing the proportion of all food purchased across the public sector that is locally produced or certified thigher environmental production standards. Scottish Labour will work to safeguard the sustainability of our agricultural sector, and the jobs that are supported in the supply chain while we work towards our net zero ambitions. The farming support budget must be used to properly support jobs and communities, while also encouraging practices that are beneficial for our food and environment.

Scottish Labour is committed to strengthening wildlife protection law and animal welfare in Scotland, including humane wildlife control and appropriate land management. Labour will ban the import of hunting trophies and we will end puppy smuggling. We will also partner with scientists, industry, and civil society as we work towards the phasing out of animal testing.