Members of the Scottish National Party backed the call for a state-run energy company on the second day of their autumn conference, four years after Leader Nicola Sturgeon first pledged one . This move will be seen as a direct blame for management’s failure to keep its promise.
On Saturday, campaigners overwhelmingly backed a motion demanding the creation of a Scottish National Energy Company, something Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon first promised in October 2017 at a previous conference.
It recently emerged that ministers had abandoned the plan, with efforts refocused on a new state-owned national energy agency.
Sturgeon told delegates at the 2017 conference that a “not-for-profit public energy company” with fees “as close to cost as possible” would be established by 2021.
The Scottish Government has since said work on the plan has been halted by the pandemic and changed due to the changing energy market.
The motion, passed by SNP members 527 to six, said a new national energy company could set ‘the standard for Scottish clean energy production that prioritizes electricity produced in Scotland’ .
Former SNP MSP Rob Gibson told the conference: “A Scottish national energy company could guide us to a completely clean future.
He added: “Why have electric cars if they are really powered by nuclear or gas electricity, they have to be powered by clean electricity. A rekindled public spirit will create a Scottish National Energy Company, that is our goal. “
Responding to the vote, Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Liam Kerr said: ‘The SNP has spent half a million pounds on a very popular public energy company. Like so many of their promises over the years, it was just headlines and no substance. “
He suggested the motion reflected the party’s recent power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens: “The sidelining of the company has clearly tarnished the newly established partnership with the Greens. Maybe the switch to renewables wasn’t as important to them as getting into government. “
Tomorrow, delegates will debate a motion calling for a referendum bill to be introduced at the “first moment” after the current public health crisis is over.
On Friday, Sturgeon insisted that holding a second independence referendum in the next two years is a realistic timeline. She announced in her government platform earlier this week that officials are resuming work on her plan to hold the vote by the end of 2023.