Jeremy Corbyn will pledge to create an energy policy “for the 60 million, not the Big Six” when he sets out his energy policy later today, including plans for over a thousand local energy providers and community energy schemes.
Speaking in Nottingham at a rally, the Labour leader is expected to say he would champion 200 new publically owned local energy companies by 2025 if elected. These would supply whole towns and cities across the UK, while state funding would be used to pay for grid connections for 1,000 new “community energy co-operatives”.
According to various media reports, Corbyn will say: “We will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and drive the expansion of the green industries and jobs of the future, using our National Investment Bank to invest in public and community-owned renewable energy.”
The new not-for-profit co-operatives would focus on renewables and have a “right to supply” energy directly. This approach would follow a similar strategy by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose office recently applied for a junior electricity supply licence with Ofgem
The National Investment Bank was announced in July by shadow chancellor John McDonnell and would mobilise £500bn of investment and lending to be used for infrastructure spending.
An increase to 200 additional local energy suppliers would represent a significant increase from the government’s efforts to break the dominance of the Big Six suppliers. In May the now defunct Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said there were more than 40 energy providers, with smaller firms making up 15% of the dual fuel market.
In addition to plans for new energy providers Corbyn would also reinstate DECC within the first month of a Labour government, branding its closure “short-sighted and irresponsible”. He would also seek to create over 300,000 jobs in the low carbon sector by adopting a target of 65% of electricity to come from renewables by 2030.