“Act Now to Re-energise UK Renewables” includes five key recommendations for the government to support and expand the sector.
They are to:
- work with unions and industry to take action on the energy skills crisis,
- support an accelerated rollout of renewable energy infrastructure,
- expand public investment in research and development for renewables,
- enforce and ensure the highest standards of health and safety across UK renewables,
- urgently provide a coherent whole-system approach to energy policy.
You can download the full pamphlet from the Prospect library.
About a dozen Prospect members and reps working in renewables attended the reception at the Strangers’ Dining Room in Parliament, where they were able to talk to MPs from across the political spectrum.
The event was hosted by Diana Johnson MP who opened her remarks by saying that renewables could be as important for her constituency of Hull as North Sea oil has been for Aberdeen in terms of boosting the local economy.
“Hull and the Humber have over 20 wind projects in development including three of the UK’s largest offshore wind farms. This is really important for the number of jobs that are going to be created in my part of the world.
“It’s important to me as a Labour MP that the trade union movement, Prospect in particular, is part of that growth, working alongside companies to represent workers, and making sure there are good jobs for everyone working in renewables,” she said.
One of the highlights of the event was Ajai Ahluwalia, a young Prospect member who works for Equinor at the Dudgeon offshore wind farm.
“We really do have a win-win scenario where, with an ambitious approach, we can address climate change, while providing high quality and rewarding jobs that literally help keep the lights on,” Ajai said.
The senior electrical engineer also emphasised the importance of health and safety.
“The renewables energy industry is one of the most exciting and dynamic places to work… but with that pace and passion, we sometimes lose sight of the principles and protections that have evolved in the UK over the decades.
“This is where I think Prospect provides a crucial role in informing and supporting employees and employers in this growing and maturing industry.”
Rachel Reeves MP, the chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, also spoke at the reception.
“I’m a friend of Prospect because they do such fantastic work, not just in this sector but in many others as well, ensuring that UK industry has talented people with the right skills,” Reeves said.
“In the UK, although we have got a story to tell, the truth is that we’re not on track to meet our carbon targets and we need to do much more to invest in the renewables sector.
“It is a big opportunity because this is an area of huge potential if we’re going to create high-skilled jobs, whether it is in offshore wind, solar, tidal or electric vehicles. The jobs of the future are in green technologies,” she added.
In his remarks, Matthieu Hue, chief executive of EDF Renewables, said: “EDF is very keen on decarbonising the economy through nuclear and renewables. I’m pleased to say that renewables is at the very heart of our strategy. The renewables industry has developed tremendously over the last 10 years but more needs to be done.
“We face many challenges such as climate change, we need to invest in our energy infrastructure and to replace existing plants.
“Renewables has an important part to play and is already contributing to these challenges but we have to be more ambitious. We very much welcome Prospect’s contribution to the discussion on how we deliver more renewables.”
Sue Ferns, Prospect senior deputy general secretary said, “The whole energy industry is undergoing rapid and unprecedented change at the moment. A key feature of this change is the four-fold increase in electricity generation from renewables since 2010.”
She added: “We want to develop constructive and mature relationships with renewable companies in the same way that we’ve done across the wider energy sector. We want to ensure the continued success of renewables and to grow high quality employment.
“Across the energy sector Prospect employs skilled people who gets things done. We know that business reaps the benefits when these people, our members and potential members, are treated fairly, properly consulted and are engaged,” she concluded.
Tuesday also saw the launch of a joint “just transition” initiative from four key unions, including Prospect, who together represent 200,000 members across the energy sector.
Just transition is about the fair treatment of workers and communities who will be most affected by the energy sector’s increasing shift towards a lower carbon world.
Download “Demanding a just transition for energy workers” from the Prospect library.
(Photo left to right: Sue Ferns, Rachel Reeves MP, Diana Johnson MP, Matthieu Hue and Ajai Ahluwalia)