Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to set up a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company.
The First Minister told the SNP conference that the “simple” idea would see the company sell energy to customers at “as close to cost price as possible”.
She said it would be set up by 2021 and would give people – particularly on low incomes – more choice of which supplier to use.
She added that more details on this would be revealed in the Government’s forthcoming energy strategy.
She said: “The idea, at its heart, is simple.
“Energy would be bought wholesale or generated here in Scotland – renewable, of course – and sold to customers as close to cost price as possible.
“No shareholders to worry about. No corporate bonuses to consider.
“It would give people – particularly those on low incomes – more choice and the option of a supplier whose only job is to secure the lowest price for consumers.”
She also announced action to improve the environment, revealing the first “Low Emission Zone” to be set up by the Scottish Government will be in Glasgow.
She spoke out about the global threat from climate change, and said: “Every industrialised country, large or small, must play its part to meet our collective duty to safeguard the environment.”
The announcement came as Ms Sturgeon told the conference at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow that the gap between Scotland and Westminster had “never been wider”.
She said she had been forced to delay plans for a second Scottish independence referendum, after suffering heavy losses in June’s snap general election.
While she insisted her party still has a mandate to hold such a vote, she said she would “respect” the desire for greater clarity over Brexit before Scots go to the polls again.
But she was clear: “There is a better future to be had for all of us, if we chose to build it, together.”
The case for leaving the UK “does not depend on Brexit”, the SNP leader said, but she said the decision to leave the European Union – which was not supported in Scotland – showed “what can happen when we don’t control our own future”.
She accepted many independence supporters “are impatient for change” – but said that “we may not yet know exactly when the choice will be made.”
However she stressed: “We can, we must, and we will always make the case for independence.”