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Gloucestershire Business News

Dale Vince backs Labour's state-owned green energy company idea

The founder of Gloucestershire-based green energy company Ecotricity has backed Sir Keir Starmer's idea to launch Great British Energy, a new state-owned energy company for renewables.

Dale Vince, when interviewed by LBC's Iain Dale at the Labour Party conference, said: "I think it's the right thing to do. For too long we've let foreign companies own our vital national assets like our energy industry, like our water industry and siphon billions of pounds a year from our energy and water bills out of our country, out of our hands and not spend that money on the infrastructure that we need.

"I think it's right that we have public ownership for this next chunk of green energy that we've got to build. We've got 50 per cent on the grid now and we've got to build 50 per cent. I think it's right that we build that under public ownership."

Asked how he would persuade the general public to go 'green', Mr Vince said: "The way I would persuade people today that they need to be green, that we need to be green as a nation is simply to point to these crazy energy prices that have been imposed on us for at least a year now and there will be another couple of years before there';s any chance of that being over.

"The answer to this energy crisis and the energy security crisis is to build all the renewable energy assets that we possibly can. We are blessed with an abundance of wind, sun and grass to make gas. We could be entirely energy independent from renewable sources probably within a decade if we get after it and that would keep energy bills permanently low. Renewable energy never runs out so once we've built the stuff we're laughing."

Mr Vince said one 'crumb' amongst 'all the craziness' of the Chancellor's statement last Friday related to the building of onshore wind turbines.

"It was absolutely unexpected," he said. "He didn't say he was going to unban it, he said it was going to put it on a level playing field with other infrastructure projects in planning terms. We've never had that. We've called for it for decades.

"If we truly get that then onshore wind will take off as it needs no public money to build, it's free to us as a nation, we just need to get on and build it.

"I would say the British public are already persuaded. If you look at opinion polls around wind energy that the government has been taking for the last 20 years we are still getting 60 to 70 per cent support for onshore wind.while for fracking you get 60 to 70 per cent opposition. This is a contrast. I think there are a few Tory MPs who don't like onshore wind. They've turned it into a bit of an ideological battle.

"But what do you prefer? To see a windmill or to have energy bills of £5,000 a year?"

Mr Vince said he would be getting behind Labour, adding: "It's absolutely essential that we have a Labour government now. We've spent too many years wasting time. We had a decade according to the UN in which to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We've wasted the first half of the decade under Johnson and now Truss it's just so important that we get busy in the second half of the decade."

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