Ecotricity chairman Dale Vince, a major Labour donor, has published a plan for four-fifths of British power generation to be derived from renewable energy within 15 years, calling for the introduction of “a cow tax” to reduce UK beef consumption, The Guardian has reported.
Mr Vince, Britain’s wealthiest green energy businessman, told the paper he had discussed his ideas with shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint and energy secretary Ed Davey – but said he had given up on David Cameron, whom he claimed was in hock to the UKIP wing of his party.
Ecotricity is one of the largest renewable energy firms in the UK, and the unconventional Mr Vince has given Labour £250,000 to help fight the election. He has also given smaller sums to the Liberal Democrats.
A minister for carbon would ensure green government promises were no longer followed by demands to “cut the green crap”.
Mr Vince’s plan, developed with the research group Cambridge Econometrics, calls for a 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector, a ban on new coal-fired power generation from 2020, a promise to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels by 2025 and the scrapping of VAT currently charged on electric vehicles, which would cut their cost by 20%.
He also proposes a permanent government minister dedicated to removing carbon from the UK economy.
He accepted a tax on cattle ownership would be contentious, but said that 40% of agricultural emissions came directly from cattle and sheep and another 54% from fertilisers widely used on the grasslands they eat.
He proposes the burden of green taxes, such as social and environmental levies, should come off energy bills and be applied to general taxation.
If the new government implemented the programme immediately, he claimed it would be possible for almost half of Britain’s electricity to be provided by offshore wind, with onshore and biomass providing an additional 25%, by 2030.