Public Ownership of the Energy System

Energy Security and Net Zero – in the House of Commons at on 16 April 2024.

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Photo of Nadia Whittome Nadia Whittome Labour, Nottingham East

Whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of public ownership of the energy system.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

Properly regulated markets, which incentivise private capital to invest in the energy system, provide the best outcome for consumers and promote market competition as the best driver of efficiency, innovation and value.

Photo of Nadia Whittome Nadia Whittome Labour, Nottingham East

Despite the Minister’s disagreement, public ownership exists in our energy system. For example, 45% of our offshore wind assets are publicly owned, just not by the UK—they belong to the state-owned companies of countries such as Denmark and Norway. Publicly owned energy companies can accelerate the transition to clean energy while creating jobs, reducing bills and ensuring that the public benefit directly from our common resources. Countries that are leading the transition to renewables have realised this; when will the Minister?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

I thank the hon. Member. It is flattering: I am 48 hours into my role, and she would like to upgrade it so that I can personally be in charge of delivering energy companies. I gently remind her that in her own local authority of Nottingham City Council, Robin Hood Energy, which was chaired by a politician—the public probably want fewer, not more, of us—managed to cost taxpayers a staggering £38 million.