Local Electricity Bill

The need for a better system.

This Bill provides “the valuable oxygen of publicity”.

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There is a lot of support for community energy production:

Community energy: planning now for the future

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The new Local Electricity Bill is looking at how to make this more feasible:

The community energy revolution

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It has been postponed more than once and has received support from many quarters over the months and years:

Local Electricity Bill could bring power to the people | devon.gov.uk

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The problem is that it’s a fiendishly difficult area – as these very sympathetic comments show:

“A large group of MPs have signalled their support to the Bill and many local authorities have also been approached. Whilst support for the concept of a better system is a given, this Bill has little prospect of ever reaching the statute book. Nonetheless perhaps it will suffice to give the valuable oxygen of publicity to the need for a solution to be found to this dilemma before too long.”

The Local Electricity Bill: A solution to the local energy dilemma? | current-news.co.uk

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The bill doesn’t actually say much about how this would work, especially with regard to infrastructure – whether local energy providers would use the system provided by the current suppliers; or whether they would also contribute to the costs of this infrastructure:

https://powerforpeople.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Local-Electricity-Bill.pdf

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Meanwhile, there are examples of current community schemes which are not doing very well, which could suggest that the new proposed system might be more supportive of such community schemes – but not necessarily:

Robin Hood becomes the second council owned supplier to seek advisors | current-news.co.uk

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There are other issues for any small-scale, local energy producer – including the use of ‘conflict minerals’ in batteries:

Futures Forum: Conflict minerals in your gadgetry > the blood and sweat in phones and batteries

and that a lot of batteries are not recyclable:

The growing problem of e-waste

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Of course, such a huge project as the one agreed to this week in Kent is not a ‘community energy scheme’; perhaps if it had been, it might not have provoked so much opposition from local people (including from the local Wildlife Trust). But these projects simply muddy the waters even further:

UK’s biggest solar park – Cleve Hill at Graveney – approved by Secretary of State | kentonline.co.uk

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Finally, the controversial documentary produced by Michael Moore is very dismissive of all such technologies:

‘Planet of the Humans’: a new documentary

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To quote George Monbiot’s repost – using data from Nature:

“There are also some genuine and difficult problems with renewable energy, particularly the mining of the necessary materials. But the film’s attacks on solar and wind power rely on a series of blatant falsehoods. It claims that, in producing electricity from renewables, “You use more fossil fuels to do this than you’re getting benefit from it. You would have been better off just burning fossil fuels in the first place”. This is flat wrong. On average, a solar panel generates 26 units of solar energy for every unit of fossil energy required to build and install it. For wind turbines the ratio is 44 to one.”

Michael and Me | monbiot.com

 

   
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