Fact check: Both Tory and Labour net zero grid plans need more than £100bn extra

On several occasions the Conservative Party and prominent Conservative politicians have claimed that Labour’s net zero plans for the National Grid will cost £116 billion.

In one report, the Tories also claimed the Labour policy would cost that much every year.


The claim is sourced from a report which says the Labour proposal will cost £116 billion extra over 11 years than is currently being spent, while the same report predicts the current Conservative Government’s policy would require an extra £104.6 billion being spent over the same period.

The facts

Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. This decarbonisation can be achieved through a combination of emission reduction and emission removal, with the ultimate aim to limit further global warming.

A 2023 report from the Policy Exchange think tank which included modelling and energy data from Aurora Energy Research claimed that to get the electricity grid in Great Britain to net zero by 2030 would cost an additional £116 billion across 11 years under Labour’s plans.

That was broken down to £15.6 billion per year until 2030, and then £4.4 billion per year between 2031 and 2035.

This money is on top of current investments and what is already forecast to be invested over that time period. In 2022 those investments totalled £23 billion from both public and private sectors.

Aurora Energy Research – an analytics company founded by professors from Oxford University – said the Labour plans were “infeasible in the timeframe”.

Meanwhile, the Government’s current net zero plans – which were introduced by Boris Johnson’s government in 2021 – are spread over a slightly longer period and aim to ensure the grid is decarbonised by 2035.

This policy would, according to the Policy Exchange report, also require billions of pounds of extra investment – £104.6 billion over 11 years.

This would come to around £8.2 billion a year until 2030 and then £11.1 billion a year between 2031 and 2035.


Conservative Party post on X (archived)

Rishi Sunak post on X (archived)

Conservative Party – Labour’s Tax rises report with yearly cost claim on page 5 (archived)

National Grid definition of net zero (archived)

Policy Exchange – Decarbonising the grid (archived)

Aurora Energy Research (archived)

Labour – Make Britain a Clean Energy Superpower (archived)

Gov.uk – Plans unveiled to decarbonise UK power system by 2035 (archived)

Election Check 24
Election Check 24