24 April 2023
The Labour Party has promised to set up Great British Energy, a new renewable energy generation company in public ownership, if elected. We know this is a very popular idea.
One of the reasons is that profits can be reinvested in improving services for all of us. So we carried out polling asking what people would like the profits from GBE to be spent on.
Today we release the results…
- Lower energy bills
This was the most popular answer, unsurprisingly. Electricity prices in the UK rose by 66.7% and gas prices by 129.4% in the last year.
Norway, France and Austria show us what’s possible.
In France, the publicly owned energy provider, Électricité de France (EDF) capped rises at 4% last year, and in 2023 is capping rises in gas and electricity at 15%.
Norway (which has revenue from its sovereign wealth fund) covers 90% of a portion of people’s energy bills above a certain rate in the current crisis.
In Austria last year, the publicly owned company Verbund offered two months of free electricity for all households and a further two months free for people eligible for state support.
- More green energy (e.g. more wind and solar farms) = more security for the future
This was the second most popular answer.
Norway and Denmark show us what’s possible.
Norway owns 100% of Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable energy producer.
Denmark owns 50% of Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind.
- Your home retrofitted and insulated to make it cosier and less expensive
While the UK has some of the leakiest homes in Europe, Switzerland shows us what’s possible.
Axpo is Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy. It’s 100% owned by the cantons of Northeastern Switzerland (member states of the Swiss Confederation). Over a third of the country uses Axpo electricity! Its subsidiary CKW (81% owned by Axpo) builds solar plants on houses and installs heat pumps, boilers and battery storage systems in basements.
- Better public services because of extra investment
In the UK, our public services have been decimated after 13 years of cuts.
The city of Munich in Germany shows us what’s possible. Stadtwerke München is owned by the city and generates renewable energy. It uses the profits it receives to invest in public services. For example, between 2022 and 2026 it’s investing 2,150 million euros in local public transport and 50 million euros in public pools.
- New green technologies making your life easier
This was the fifth most popular answer - people want investment in new green technology.
Sweden shows us what’s possible. It owns 100% of energy generation company Vattenfall, which is investing to become the leading operator of e-mobility charging points in northwestern Europe - it’s built 39,600 so far.
Of the top 10 countries in the world who are leading the energy transition to renewables, 9 out of 10 of them have a publicly owned renewable energy generation company. The UK is the only country that doesn’t. Other countries are already leading the way with their green energy champions.
It’s brilliant news that the Labour Party has promised to create Great British Energy. Let’s copy other countries to make sure it’s super ambitious and delivers what people want!
Join our online event ‘How do we make Great British Energy a huge success?’ from 7pm-8pm tonight, Monday 24th April. Hosted by We Own It and Common Wealth, you'll get to hear from Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and the Green New Deal, Ellen Fearon from Green New Deal Rising, Mika Minio-Paluello from the TUC, Stuart Dossett from Green Alliance, and Mathew Lawrence, founder and Director of Common Wealth, a think tank that designs ownership models for the democratic economy.
You can register here. We hope to see you there!
Phil Hollman from London, UK, CC BY 2.0