Power to the Region
We recognise that Yorkshire is a significant energy producer within the UK and has an important energy-intensive manufacturing sector. We support the development of an energy policy for Yorkshire that has at its core an ambitious target of renewable energy use and an innovative programme of low-carbon technology use.
Investment in green energy fell by 56% to £7.5bn in the UK in 2017 after support was reduced by the Westminster government. Worldwide spending on green energy increased by 3% to £242.4bn. This reduction is the opposite from what is needed to ensure Yorkshire has a stable and sufficient power supply. Therefore, we make a commitment to increase spending on renewable energy.
Yorkshire has a unique opportunity to champion community and individual micro-generation and the Yorkshire Party will encourage efficient energy use with smart distribution and storage.
The demand for electricity will rise as transport switches from fossil fuels. The Yorkshire Party will encourage local, community and personal generation schemes through subsidies and grants to increase stakeholder responsibility and reduce reliance on ‘the big 6’ international generating companies. Incentives for sustainable generation will encourage regional development of wind, solar and hydro-electric schemes and will build expertise in the green energy industries.
The Yorkshire Party will encourage schemes that are appropriate to their environment, with wind, hydro-electric and anaerobic digestion in rural areas and roof-top solar and geothermal generation for more urban communities. Some large countywide services, such as Yorkshire Water, will be encouraged to generate energy from waste and also to generate solar power from the reservoir estates.
Yorkshire is particularly well placed to match generators and consumers, and a county-wide generation plan will ensure the maximum self-sufficiency and the best market advantages whether we are buying or selling electricity.
Generation schemes that are not from sustainable, renewable or responsible sources will be strongly discouraged and will not be subsidised.
The Yorkshire Party will reduce reliance on national power generation sources (such as large nuclear fission and coal fired power stations) by increasing community generation but will encourage the change to a Smart Grid, which is better suited to regional peak demand management. We see the grid as an essential two-way resource to supply peak demand and to consume additional generating capacity but the Yorkshire Party will work towards a general reduction in reliance on international generation by encouraging local, regional and personal generating schemes.
Northern Powergrid and the National Grid will be encouraged to invest more in the electrical infrastructure of Yorkshire, updating physical and data management to make the system more efficient. The upgrade in infrastructure will be required to cope with the extra demands placed upon the grid for the charging of electrical vehicles and the demand for electricity.
The Yorkshire Party will expand local energy storage capabilities for individual micro-generators and larger, regional generators. We believe that energy storage is vital to meet demand in a region that is supplied by renewable sources. We will encourage schemes appropriate to the scale of the generator, with batteries at the household and small business level up to hydro schemes for regional providers.
We must not waste energy. The Yorkshire Party will introduce an urgent program of insulation that targets both old and new buildings. Building Regulations will be extended to require a much higher energy efficiency and will account for both the energy losses and the potential energy generation for each building. All new buildings, whether they are domestic homes or industrial/ commercial buildings, will be designed and built to be energy neutral.
The industrial sector accounts for 17% of total energy use and 20% of all carbon emissions. However, up to 40% of this energy is wasted through inefficient equipment and manufacturing processes. We will, therefore, work with industry to optimise energy use which will benefit not only industry but the county as a whole. Companies will be encouraged to invest in new energy efficient plant and energy efficient ways of working and the insulating of existing buildings and factories.
Companies will be required to carry out energy assessments to identify in which areas energy can be saved whether this is in the manufacturing process or the buildings that are used. These assessments will be acted upon to reduce the carbon footprint of the company.
Many local authority or government buildings are not efficient in saving energy. Local authorities will be encouraged to insulate buildings, provide better energy-efficient lighting and produce renewable energy to power these buildings. This will be achieved by the use of the green taxes already applied to fuel bills.
The Yorkshire Party opposes all extreme methods of fossil fuel exploration and extraction. This includes hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and we will ban fracking everywhere in, on and under Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire Party will require much tighter controls on unwanted emissions from generating plants and calls for the continued development and implementation of air filtration and carbon capture technologies, alongside a presumption against the construction of further energy-from-waste plants.
To ensure the widest scrutiny, the Yorkshire Party will champion Open Data standards and ethical reporting for all generators and users of energy.
Social and Health Benefits
By increasing efficiency in energy usage, the Yorkshire Party will greatly assist those currently in fuel poverty. The switch to renewables will benefit the landscape and the quality of life as improvements and safeguards in air, water and housing become widespread across Yorkshire.
Skills and Industry
The Yorkshire Party will establish a research institute to advance the application of very high efficiency energy systems. The principle objective will be to grow skills, engineering and ideas that directly benefit the workforce in Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire Party will fund and establish research into new innovations with universities in Yorkshire. This research will look into innovations around how new technologies can lead to more efficient appliances, which in turn make better use of power sources saving energy. It will also encourage better public awareness and education into the best ways of saving power and the cheapest time when electrical appliances should be used.
Research will also be undertaken into producing more efficient renewable power sources.