SNP members make fresh demand for state-owned energy firm for Scotland

Rank-and-file members of the SNP have backed a call for a Scottish energy company to be set up – despite the party at Holyrood failing to make good on a promise to deliver a new state-owned utility firm.

Activists at the SNP national conference overwhelmingly passed a motion demanding the creation of a Scottish national energy company.

The vote came almost four years after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had pledged the Scottish Government would set up a “publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company”.

Nicola Sturgeon said in 2017 the Scottish Government would set up a state-owned power firm (Jane Barlow/PA)
Nicola Sturgeon said in 2017 the Scottish Government would set up a state-owned power firm (Jane Barlow/PA)

Speaking in October 2017, she said that this body would be set up by the 2021 Holyrood elections, something ministers failed to achieve.

The motion, passed by SNP members by 527 votes to six, stated a new national energy company could set “the standard for Scottish clean power production that prioritises made-in-Scotland electricity”.

Former SNP MSP Rob Gibson told the conference: “A Scottish national energy company could guide us to a fully clean powered future.”

He added: “Why have electric cars if they are really powered by nuclear or gas burned electric, they have got to be powered by clean electricity.

“A revived public spirit will create a Scottish national energy company, that is our aim.”

Fellow SNP member Roland Chapman stated: “Our demand is for this new national energy company to have a remit progressively to take over the harnessing and distribution of Scotland’s immense renewable energy potential.”

Scottish Conservatives energy spokesman Liam Kerr hit out at the SNP, saying: “Dusting off old failures like this shows the Nationalists are tired and out of ideas.

“The SNP spent half a million pounds on a much-fanfared public energy company.

“Like so many of their pledges over the years, it was all headlines and no substance.”

The Conservative MSP added: “Shelving the company has plainly tarnished the newly-minted partnership with the Greens.

“Perhaps the move towards renewables wasn’t as important to them as getting into government.”