This workshop set out to examine existing and proposed models of public ownership of energy systems.

As a group of about 40 academics and practitioners we considered ownership of energy across different scales and contexts in the UK and Europe. We debated the arguments for and against different ownership structures for energy networks, power generation, gas supply, energy retailing and energy services.


The roles of public and private sectors in European economies are once more becoming the focus of political debate, not least in the UK. Energy systems, and envisaged transitions to clean energy, are fundamental to economy and society, and there are questions about whether ownership is materially consequential to development of a low carbon energy system and its efficient operation.

In the UK surveys of public opinion find majority support for public ownership in the energy sector, and the UK Labour party, Scottish National Party (and Scottish Government), and Plaid Cymru have all proposed different forms of publicly owned energy companies (POECs).

In other European countries liberalisation and privatisation have followed different dynamics, with, for example, a wave of ‘remunicipalisations’ in Germany and continued public ownership of major district heating schemes in Denmark.

The kinds of questions and issues we debated were:

International Workshop on Publicly Owned Energy Companies

Working Paper – Local energy businesses in the United Kingdom: clusters and localism determinants based on financial ratios
participants, financial ratios, and estimates of localism

Fabian Fuentes Gonzalez, Janette Webb, Maria Sharmina, Matthew Hannon, Timothy Braunholtz-Speight and Dimitrios Pappas ( 2021 )

Working paper

Working Paper: Characterising a local energy business sector in the United Kingdom
participants, revenue sources, and estimates of localism and smartness

Fabian Fuentes Gonzalez, Janette Webb, Maria Sharmina, Matthew Hannon, Dimitrios Pappas and Margaret Tingey ( 2020 )

Working paper

Heat and the City Response to Scottish Government’s “Energy Efficient Scotland: Improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes”, March 2020

Faye Wade and Janette Webb ( 2020 )

Consultation response

Heat and the City Response to Scottish Government’s “Local Energy Policy Statement: A Consultation”

Faye Wade, Margaret Tingey, Fabian Fuentes Gonzalez and Janette Webb ( 2019 )

Consultation response

International Workshop on Publicly Owned Energy Companies Programme

( 2018 )

Agenda Report

International workshop report – Public Ownership of Energy Companies
Report from an International Workshop on Publicly Owned Energy Companies, held in Edinburgh on May 10-11 2018

David Hawkey, Margaret Tingey and Janette Webb ( 2018 )

Event report Report

Public Ownership, Economic Democracy and Energy

Andrew Cumbers ( 2018 )


Public ownership of large-scale energy infrastructure – can we build energy democracy from the top-down?

Mika Minio-Paluello ( 2018 )


Public Ownership as a Tool for Participation and Technical Change? German cities after remunicipalisation

Sören Becker ( 2018 )


Water Industry Commission for Scotland

Alan Sutherland ( 2018 )


Is there a future for the European mega-utilities?

Steve Thomas ( 2018 )


Public Ownership, Environmental Regulation and Environmental Quality: Evidence from the European Energy Industry

Stefano Clò ( 2018 )


Public-private comparative economic realities and the feasibility of public ownership in UK energy system

David Hall ( 2018 )


Danish experiences with public and local ownership of district heating companies

Rune Nielsen ( 2018 )


Local authorities and the regulation of electricity distribution networks in France: Concession contracts or local (semi) public operators?

François-Mathieu Poupeau ( 2018 )


The UK energy market context

Tony Norton ( 2018 )


Robin Hood Energy: Local Public Energy Supply Company

Gail Scholes ( 2018 )


How do policy and market contexts affect the potential for municipal energy companies in the UK?

Katy Roelich ( 2018 )


Ownership models and business structures in UK Local Authority energy initiatives

Margaret Tingey ( 2018 )


Aberdeen Heat & Power A growing Not-for-Profit Model

Ian Booth ( 2018 )


Enabling to ensuring- heat networks as a tool for local re-engagement in energy

Jess Britton ( 2018 )


Explicit and implicit roles for the public sector in district heating: what can the UK learn from other countries to future-proof ownership and governance arrangements?

David Hawkey ( 2018 )


Public Energy System – Infographic

David Hall ( 2018 )

Poster Presentation