A cross-party group of 132MPs support the Local Electricity Bill.
“We need many more to back the Bill if it is to become law.”
A campaign is underway from Power for People – a campaign in support of the Local Electricity Bill:
“If made law the Bill would unlock the huge potential for more community-scale renewable energy schemes across the country whilst benefiting local communities in the process. We are campaigning for this Bill to be made law in partnership with the Transition Network.”
“146 MPs have already backed the Bill, along with 214 local organisations, 250 parish councils and 40 local authorities. As well as the Transition Network, 46 national organisations also back the Bill including WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Action with Communities in Rural England, the RSPB, UK Community Works, the National Association of Local Councils and Community Matters – the National Federation of Community Organisations.”
With more on their website:
COMMUNITY ENERGY REVOLUTION
We are not meeting our climate change targets – the UK is way off track to meet the fourth and fifth carbon emissions budgets of the Climate Change Act. Community-scale renewable energy has huge potential to help solve this problem and benefit local economies, but it is currently blocked from doing so.
If you want to buy your electricity from local renewable sources, such as the local school or sports hall that have solar panels on their roofs, you cannot. We all buy our electricity from a utility company that sources it from anything connected to the National Grid, be it a field of solar panels in Wiltshire or a gas fired power station in Yorkshire.
Putting it the other way around – a community with local renewable generation, e.g. housing estates with solar panels or a local wind farm – cannot sell the energy they generate directly to local people, but must sell it to a utility who sells it on to customers. This is happening because becoming a supplier of energy to customers involves set-up and running costs of millions of pounds. These costs are due to things like having to grapple with the highly complex grid balancing codes and network agreements that are controlled by the largest six utilities.
The heart of the problem is disproportionate costs. It would be like you wanting to set up a business baking cupcakes in your kitchen and delivering them to people in your local area, but instead of just paying the road tax for your delivery van you had to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to use the roads, no matter how few cupcakes you delivered. You could never start your business – this is the reality for community-scale renewable energy in the UK.
The costs and complexity of being able to sell locally generated energy to local people need to be made proportionate to the size of the local energy co-operative’s or business’s operation. We have drafted the Local Electricity Bill which lays out a mechanism that will do this. If made law, it would give electricity generators the right to become local suppliers – i.e. sell their energy directly to local people – and make it financially viable to do so.
The Bill gives the task of setting this new mechanism up to OFGEM, the energy market regulator. Critically, it requires that OFGEM ensures local suppliers face costs and complexity proportionate to the scale of their business. The Bill also requires that OFGEM engages appropriate experts and stakeholders in the formulation of the new process.
Some have suggested that the Bill could be improved by adding certain new clauses, for example a requirement that only co-operatives and not-for-profit companies could become local energy suppliers. There will be opportunities for redrafting and we are actively seeking input from community groups, experts and academics.