The Liberal Democrats have set out proposals to restore government backing for onshore wind farms and solar PV.
The Lib Dem election manifesto, published today (17 May), says the party would reverse the Conservative withdrawal of support for the two low cost renewable technologies if elected back into government.
The backing for wind energy projects “in appropriate locations” is one of the measures with which the Lib Dem aim to generate 60 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The manifesto also backs investment in energy storage, smart grid technology, hydrogen technologies, offshore wind, and tidal power.
The party says it would introduce a Zero Green Britain Act including legally binding targets to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2040 en route to their total eradication by 2050.
And the party pledges to support carbon capture and storage, ban fracking and give nuclear power stations a continued role in electricity generation provided they receive no public subsidy.
The Lib Dem manifesto proposes to tackle rising energy bills by improving home insulation and encouraging small-scale, community and council run renewable schemes.
It says the Liberal Democrats would back new entrants to the energy market, aiming for at least 30 per cent of the household market to be supplied by competitors to the “Big 6” suppliers by 2022.
New energy-efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035, would be enshrined in a new Green Buildings Act. And the Lib Dems would set a goal of bringing 4m homes up to Band C by 2022, with a priority for fuel-poor households.
In addition, the Lib Dems say they would restore the zero-carbon standard for new homes and extend it to non-domestic buildings by 2022.
More private investment into renewable energy would be one of the priorities for a £100 billion package of additional infrastructure investment proposed by the party. It proposes the establishment of a British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to mobilise investment into the low-carbon and sustainable infrastructure.
Ken Cronin, chief executive of onshore oil and gas body UKOOG said the Lib Dems had reversed their position on fracking from when they held the energy and climate change portfolio in the coalition government.
He said: “We are disappointed with the Liberal Democrats’ vow to oppose fracking, which is a reversal from their position when in power when they believed it was ‘in the national interest to move on from the arguments of zealots and vested interests, and start a debate about how best to proceed safely with shale gas exploration.”