Keir Starmer, leader of the UK’s Labour Party, has vowed to boost investment in floating offshore wind and prioritise development of the fledgling renewable energy source as part of an £8.2bn ($10.36bn) green energy fund.

The technology, still in its relative infancy, has so far only been deployed in a handful of small-scale projects worldwide. Labour’s planned state-owned clean energy company – Great British Energy – will provide investment for the commercialisation of floating offshore wind through an initial £8.3bn budget, Starmer told reporters at a port in North Wales.

“In an increasingly insecure world, with tyrants using energy as an economic weapon, Britain must take back control of our national energy security,” Starmer said. Recent figures published this week show that the UK imported nearly 40% of its energy in 2022.

He added: “Here in Wales, the potential for offshore wind is enormous, and the UK Tory [Conservative] government is squandering it. With public investment through Great British Energy, we can unlock billions more in private investment to turbocharge jobs and growth for Wales.”

The Labour Party, currently the opposition party to the sitting Conservatives, is expected to win the UK’s next general election, due to be held in autumn this year. Starmer’s party currently has around a 20-point lead in the polls.

The government has questioned the legitimacy of Labour’s clean energy plans, calling them “unfunded”. Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “Sir Keir Starmer can’t say what he will do to protect our energy security because he does not have a plan – he set out a 2030 decarbonisation promise, which Labour themselves costed at £28bn without a plan to pay for it.”

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Adrian Ramsay, co-leader of the UK Green Party, called the £8.2bn funding package for Great British Energy a “drop in the ocean”. He said: “The announcement today of £8bn for Great British Energy over the course of the whole parliament, which would prioritise investment in floating offshore wind, is a drop in the ocean… Especially since it follows the party ditching its £28bn-a-year green investment plan.”

Last month, Starmer slashed Labour’s flagship pledge to spend £28bn every year on green energy projects, reducing the fund to just £4.7bn annually, or £23.7bn over the party’s potential five-year run in office.

Labour currently has plans to decarbonise the UK’s energy sector by 2030, while the Conservatives have a target of 2035 for a net-zero energy supply.