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  1. Environment
12 November 2022

Almost half of UK offshore wind is owned by foreign governments

A mere 0.03 per cent of offshore wind is owned by British public entities.

By Polly Bindman

This year at the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, nine countries including the UK joined the Global Offshore Wind Alliance, in a move initiated by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The countries have each pledged to cooperatively find ways to remove the barriers hampering the development of offshore wind.

Analysis published by the Common Wealth think tank has highlighted the UK’s negligible stake in its own offshore wind capacity. The report, which makes the case for a British publicly owned energy company, notes that public ownership “already plays a critical role in clean energy generation in Britain”, however, it is “foreign governments and publics enjoying the benefits of this growing sector”.

Common Wealth found that 42.2 per cent of installed capacity from operational and under-construction wind farms in the UK is currently owned by foreign public entities such as state-owned enterprises and public pension funds. 

Of that, just 0.03 per cent is owned by UK public entities – less than that owned by the Malaysian government. Danish government entities account for the largest share, of 20.4 per cent. 

Common Wealth argues that such “widespread involvement” from foreign state-owned entities shows that offshore wind is a desirable asset, which the UK public sector is “currently failing to take a stake” in.

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Separate research published two days earlier by the Trades Union Congress found that if the UK had a public energy company similar to EDF in France or Vattenfall in Sweden, the government could capture profits of £2,250-£4,400 per UK household, which could then be used to reduce bills or accelerate the roll-out of home insulation.

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[See also: Cop27: What is on the agenda in Egypt?]