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What role could GB Energy play to develop renewables in the UK?

What role could GB Energy play to develop renewables in the UK?

A new analysis by RenewableUK suggests that the proposed state-backed company, GB Energy, could significantly support the development of renewable technologies if properly integrated into the current market.

The report, authored by Public First and titled “Great British Energy – from pledge to reality,” proposes that GB Energy should operate independently from political influence to ensure stable and effective contributions to the renewable sector.

According to the findings, GB Energy could beneficially invest in onshore wind and solar projects due to their quick build time and reliable revenue generation. The report also points out that public ownership could enhance local support for such projects, as demonstrated by polling conducted for the study.

GB Energy’s potential role extends to nurturing early-stage projects and taking minority stakes in joint ventures with the private sector, thereby building its capital base and expertise. Over time, GB Energy might also take on majority stakes and even spearhead its own projects. Furthermore, the report advises diversifying into other emerging clean technologies like floating wind and tidal power.

The scale of investment required to meet Labour’s 2030 clean power target is substantial, creating ample opportunity for GB Energy’s initial £8.3 billion endowment to coexist with private sector investments. However, the report emphasises the necessity for Labour to continue attracting private capital to achieve the ambitious goal of 60GW of offshore wind by 2030.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Dan McGrail, remarked on the report’s implications, “As this report shows, GB Energy has the potential to play a positive role in the energy transition, with a focus on innovative technologies like tidal stream, and supporting community wind and solar projects. We’re also clear that, with the right framework, the new Government can ensure that Great British Energy doesn’t disrupt the billions of pounds of private investment required to deliver their clean energy mission.

“We’d advise that the new Government re-commit to Great British Energy in its first days of office, with a clear outline of its purpose. And if the Prime Minister really wants to increase investor confidence and make clear his intention to deliver on Labour’s manifesto, he should end the ban on onshore wind and increase the number of wind, solar and tidal stream projects he will unlock by attracting private investment in this year’s clean power auction.”

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