Keir Starmer has announced that the Labour Party will create Great British Energy, a publicly-owned clean energy generation company, “within the first year of a Labour government”.
Addressing Labour conference today, the Labour leader said GB Energy will be a company that “takes advantage of the opportunities in clean British power”.
Labour said the role of GB Energy will be to provide “additional capacity” alongside the private sector to “establish the UK as a clean energy superpower and guarantee long term energy security”.
Labour declared that a publicly-owned company is the “best way to ensure that the British people can derive the benefits from the power that we create on our own shores”. The party described the plan as a “pragmatic way to help deliver clean power at scale”.
During his leader’s speech to conference, Starmer said: “Look at what’s happening at the moment. The largest onshore wind farm in Wales. Who owns it? Sweden. Energy bills in Swansea are paying for schools and hospitals in Stockholm.
“The Chinese Communist Party has a stake in our nuclear industry. And five million people in Britain pay their bills to an energy company owned by France.”
He declared that Labour planned to set up GB Energy “because it’s right for jobs, because it’s right for growth, because it’s right for energy independence from tyrants like Putin”.
Starmer said: “None of this will be easy – it won’t be like flicking a switch. It will mean tough battles on issues like planning and regulation. But when the Tories nay-say and carp, remember this: the road to net-zero is no longer one of stern, austere, self-denial. It’s at the heart of modern, 21st century aspiration.
“Technology has turned everything on its head. Green and growth don’t just go together – they’re inseparable. The future wealth of this country is in our air, in our seas, in our skies. Britain should harness that wealth and share it with all. British power to the British people.”
Commenting ahead of Starmer’s announcement, the Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband said: “Labour will deliver an energy system for people and planet. Foreign governments own large parts of our energy system, and reap the wealth that flows from it.
“As we implement our clean power plan, it’s time to have our own publicly-owned domestic champion in energy generation, creating wealth and jobs in Britain. Labour will build an energy system for the future, run for the British people.”
Following Starmer’s speech, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is a big, bold move that will cut bills and secure our energy future. This new national energy champion can provide high-quality jobs to every corner of the UK. And it’s about time the public shared in the profits of British energy.”
Starmer announced on Sunday that a “central mission” of a Labour government led by him would be to transform the UK into a “clean energy superpower” and end the use of fossil fuel in the country’s power system by 2030.
Speaking ahead of conference, the Labour leader said: “Our plan for clean power by 2030 will save the British people £93bn off their energy bills, and break the UK’s vulnerability to Putin and his cronies. It will also support out drive for higher growth and rising living standards.”
Starmer said the party would build a power system run entirely by cheap, home-grown renewables and nuclear by the end of this decade with proposals to quadruple offshore wind, triple solar and double onshore wind production by 2030.
Rachel Reeves this week set out plans for Labour to “build British industry”, by investing in homegrown projects across the country, including battery factories and renewable-ready ports.
The Shadow Chancellor announced that the projects would be funded by a new £8bn ‘national wealth fund’, which will mean that the state retains a share in the renewable assets in which it invests.