WALES is showing Scotland the way forward on creating a nationally owned energy company, the think tank behind the original blueprint for the idea have said.

The Common Weal think tank have said the Scottish Government must follow Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford’s lead and reverse the decision to ditch the policy to set up a publicly-owned energy firm to cut utility bills and take money away from oil and gas giants.

Writing in The National today, the group said there was “cross-party and cross-constitutional” support for a national energy company – citing the past support of the SNP, the Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour.

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Craig Dalzell and Keith Baker, the head of policy and a director of the organisation, respectively, said called on the Scottish Government to copy the Welsh example – in which the Cardiff Government owns both the means of energy production as well as the retail arm which sells on the energy to customers.

They wrote: “Wales is clearly showing the way forward for Scotland. As said earlier, there is a rare moment of cross-party agreement on the Common Weal plan for energy in Scotland and it’s not too late to recommence work on it.

“The Welsh Parliament has shown that it’s possible to work on policies like this to benefit the environment and the public despite disagreement elsewhere.

“We call on the Scottish Government to convene a cross-party working group on energy and to invite non-party groups and groups from Wales to the table to show how it can be done.

“Scotland has a choice. We can power our ambitions like Wales shall or we can repeat Thatcher and ScotWind and simply sell them off again.”

The ScotWind sale was singled out for particular criticism, saying the policy – which saw offshore wind space in the North Sea flogged to energy giants – would enrich oil companies to the tune of billions while leaving the Scottish public with only a “pittance”.

And they accused SNP ministers of abandoning plans for a nationally-owned energy company with a “sigh of relief” suggesting that the “pandemic excuse” for ditching the policy was secretly welcomed by the Scottish Government.

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They said the “final blow” to the Scottish Government’s national energy company came when SNP and Green MSPs teamed up to defeat Labour’s Monica Lennon, who tried to advance Common Weal’s proposals in parliament.

They added: “Their excuse – that they suddenly now preferred a network of local and community energy companies rather than a single national one – is already explicitly baked into the blueprint of our paper – local companies would own community scale assets while a national company would handle larger projects like offshore wind. To say we despaired was an understatement.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are clear that only through having full powers in relation to energy generation and borrowing would any country be able to consider large-scale public sector involvement in or ownership of energy generation, on a scale that would truly deliver a fair and just transition to net zero.

“We have ambitious targets to decarbonise heat in Scotland, and have established a National Public Energy Agency to deliver the transformational change required needed in heating and energy efficiency of our buildings. 

"As part of this work, through the Agency we will support others with an interest in exploring options to take forward new models for energy provision, including those with a local focus.”