Nearly half of UK’s offshore wind capacity owned by state-owned foreign entities, analysis shows | Climate News
Nearly half of all the UK’s offshore wind capacity is owned by state-owned or majority state-owned foreign entities, according to new analysis exclusively shared with Sky News.
Denmark’s Orstead, which is majority owned by the Danish government, and Norway’s Equinor come top of the list of public entities with the largest stake in UK offshore wind power, at 20% and 9% respectively.
They are followed by state-owned organisations in Sweden, Italy, China and France, according to analysis by the Common Wealth think tank and provided exclusively to Sky News.
Common Wealth’s assessment of publicly available data from the Crown Estate, which owns and leases much of the seabed around this country, found that the UK is twelfth on the list, behind United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Germany, Japan and Malaysia.
In large part this is because the UK government only owns a small renewable energy company called Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, which is focused on research and innovation and holds a tiny percentage of capacity.
Director of Common Wealth Matthew Laurence said: “Public ownership of renewable power is already widespread in the North Sea – it just benefits other countries.
“It is time we correct that by creating a UK green energy generator: it would roll out clean power infrastructure faster, fairer, and more affordably than the status quo.”
Common Wealth’s report added that in 2021 alone, £2.5bn of energy bills paid by UK consumers went to foreign state-owned entities.
It also found that of the 58% of UK offshore wind capacity owned by private businesses, just a third are headquartered in the UK.
The largest private owners are Germany’s RWE, Scotland’s SSE, and Spain’s Iberdrola.
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The Trades Union Congress has also called for what it referred to as a “public energy champion” that would invest excess profits from the generation of electricity to cut bills and insulate homes.
Clean energy and climate change will be a key theme of this week’s Labour Party conference, although Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has dropped plans to nationalise energy companies.
Prime Minister Liz Truss has spoken positively about wind and nuclear power but is resisting calls to expand a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies, has lifted a ban on fracking for shale gas in the UK, and is preparing to grant nearly 100 new licenses for drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea.
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