Coutinho labels Labour’s 2030 zero carbon grid plan ‘mad, bad and dangerous’

Labour’s plan for a net zero carbon grid by 2030 is “mad, bad and downright dangerous”, energy secretary Claire Coutinho has warned.

Coutinho took aim at the Labour pledge as both parties debated grid decarbonisation strategies during the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero question time in the House of Commons.

Labour has pledged to cut emissions from electricity generation to net zero by 2030, five years ahead of the government’s target.

Responding to a question from MP Philip Dunne about the “feasibility, let alone the cost” of what the Conservative chair of the environment audit committee described as the “fantasy pipe dream of official Labour party policy to decarbonise by 2030”, energy security and net zero secretary Coutinho said: “It does take time to build things. Labour’s 2030 policy is mad, bad and downright dangerous. I have yet to meet a serious expert or a single person in the industry who believes it is possible.

“Labour’s plans would heap costs on to taxpayers, in stark contrast to our pragmatic and proportionate approach.

“The plans that the Labour party has set out have been criticised by pretty much every single part of the energy system.”

Coutinho was challenged by former shadow energy and climate change secretary of state Barry Gardiner on why the government has pledged 95% grid decarbonisation by 2030 in the light of her claims that Labour’s slightly more ambitious goal will cost the UK “billions”.

Shadow energy secretary of state Ed Miliband said: “She is failing across the board. The onshore wind ban remains; the offshore wind market crashes; the insulation schemes are a disaster, while she spends her time appeasing the flat-earth, anti-net zero brigade in her own party.”

He added that it is “no wonder” that Graham Stuart, who announced his resignation as energy minister last week, had stepped down.

Miliband also accused Coutinho of “catastrophically” failing the victims of the “absolute scandal of the forced installation of prepayment meters”.

He said that one year on from a promise by the secretary of state’s predecessor Grant Shapps of full compensation for those affected by forced PPM installations, only 1% of the 150,000 customers assessed had received pay-outs.