UK Labour party confirms plans to launch GB Energy to rival Ørsted, Vattenfall and EDF

A Labour government would launch a publicly-owned energy company akin to other European national energy developers like France’s EDF and Denmark’s Ørsted, if elected in the UK next year. 

Ed Miliband speaking at the Labour conference 2023 in Liverpool (pic credit: Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)

Speaking at the Labour party conference yesterday (9 October), Ed Miliband, the shadow energy and net zero secretary, reiterated plans to launch a national energy company named GB Energy that would lead the UK’s pursuit of renewable energy and develop more wind and solar power in the country. 

“Some people will tell you that we don’t have public ownership of energy in Britain. But of course, we do. It’s just by state-owned firms from other countries. France’s EDF, Sweden’s Vattenfall, Denmark’s Ørsted. Other countries own nearly half of our offshore wind, because they know it creates jobs and wealth for their countries. I say, if it’s good enough for them, why not us?” Miliband said. 

“Under Labour, the British people will own things again, build things again, profit as a country from these investments again. GB Energy. Owned by the British people, built by the British people. For the benefit of the British people, that’s the new Britain we can build together.”

Miliband vowed to massively increase Britain’s wind energy capacity as part of the green transition during his speech. 

Under Labour the government would double onshore wind and quadruple offshore wind, he said, as well as tripling solar energy. The UK currently has installed onshore wind with capacity of up to 14GW.

Earlier this year, Miliband set out an offshore wind target of 55GW of fixed-bottom capacity by 2030 plus 5GW of floating wind capacity.

The former Labour leader attacked the Conservative government’s 13-year track record on wind energy and pointed to the recent example of offshore developers abandoning the UK’s latest Contracts for Difference auction. 

Floating wind was also highlighted by Miliband as a “key industry of the future”. He said a Labour government would embrace the technology and encourage its development in the UK. 

“Under the Tories, our largest floating wind farm wasn’t built in Britain. It was built in Spain, assembled in the Netherlands, and then was towed into place off the Scottish coast. I say, not under Labour. GB Energy will invest in floating wind so Britain can lead the world. We will have the grid we need to rewire this country,” he said.